20 Kids Meditation Exercises To Reduce Stress

Kids meditation helps reduce stress and improve sleep, and with this collection of guided meditation exercises, you can easily help your child practice kids meditation. When you do, you'll be part of a large and growing group of caring parents who are seeing the  of improvements in children's behavior, temperament, and mental health - as well as increased focus, better impulse control, and even being more respectful and empathetic to peers.

So what is it about kids meditation that makes it so relevant today? The answer is stress. Today's children live in a world with more social pressure, a greater number of technological challenges & distractions, and get less physical exercise than ever before. After all, children struggle with all of the same challenges & pressures of the modern world that adults do - such as online bullying and negative media influences - but they lack the emotional coping mechanisms that adults have developed over a period of years.

Kids meditation can help relieve stress, and provides valuable tools to overcome negative thought patterns, enhance self-confidence, and simply help children to slow down and relax effectively enough to focus. When this happens, children are able to begin treating themselves and others with respect, while forming positive habits that will last a lifetime.

Kids Meditation Relieves Stress

Once upon a time, being "stressed out" was only something that adults struggled with. Having a job, bills, raising children, and dealing with the struggles of adulthood left being tired & overcome with pressures. In today's fast-paced digital world, however, children are struggling with the effects of stress as much as adults are. Oftentimes kids are exposed to bullying, having trouble keeping up in school, feeling pressured to stay popular on social media, and worried about getting good grades for admission into college.

Many of children's stressors appear to adults like the same issues they struggled with as a child - and in a sense, they are, but in another sense, today's kids are dealing with more pressures, at a faster pace, and arriving earlier in life. Kids struggles may not seem important to adults, but for them it may feel like it is the end of the world. This makes it very important for parents to help children develop effective tools for dealing with stressors.

Kids meditation is one of several tools that has been demonstrated to to be effective in relieving both the onset and severity of stress-related anxiety. The question isn't so much about whether meditation can help, but how to best implement it - as meditation techniques should suit the child's age.

Some advocates recommend introducing children to basic meditation exercises as young as age three, but many children have difficulty focusing as this age, so kids meditation meditation exercises should be undertaken patiently, when your child is comfortable & not preoccupied with other activities - but also not too tired to pay attention. Bedtime may be a good time, but only on those days that your child still has enough energy to meditate for a few minutes.

Types Of Meditation Exercises

There are many different kids meditation techniques, but essentially all of the different types of meditatio techniques fall into two basic categories: mindfulness and mind-focused meditation.

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of clearing your mind, increasing your focus, and transcending the boundaries of your mind. Traditional Buddhist meditation is an example of this technique, which is often used for self-improvement and increasing your inner awareness of and connection with yourself.

In contrast, mind-focused meditation is about using the mind for self-improvement and increasing your inner awareness of yourself. Creative visualization, guided imagery and breathing exercises are all examples of mind-focused meditation - and this type of meditation is well suited for children because they allow the child to quiet the mind by actively focusing their attention, not through attempting to transcend to a higher state.

As parents, engaging children in meditation techniques can be a powerful tool to help them deal with stress, and encouraging them to begin even a brief daily session of kids meditation can begin to build within them not only resiliency to life's emotional challenges, but also the basis for spiritual growth & awakening over time. As kids continue to meditate, their practice will enable them to make meditation a regular part of their everyday life.

20 Kids Meditation Exercises

By the age of three, children are able to pay attention to the elements of a story, which assists with introducing them to guided meditation. Try having your preschooler lie down in a comfortable resting position, and then guide them gently with your voice to think about how each part of their body feels, from their head down to their toes. You can then ask them to focus on a favorite toy, or think about their breathing. Once they have become more calm, you can try one of these 20 meditation exercises below:

  1. Balloon Meditation - Kids can bottle up worry and stress. This beautiful and gentle practice will allow them to access their mind and their imagination to help reduce stress and worry before they go off to sleep at night. What we think about and how we feel when we go to sleep can dictate how we feel when we rise in the morning.
  2. Follow the Leader - This meditation technique is for children who are more than 5 years old. Ask your children to visualize their best friend, with whom they share all their exploits and secrets with. Ask them who leads and who follows. That is who usually takes the decisions in the group and who usually they look up to like their elder sibling will be the leader and they will be the follower.
  3. Focusing on the Colors You See - This simple though effective mindfulness script is an exercise that can be practiced by kids of all ages. By inviting children to pay greater attention to the colors they see, we enhance their ability to mindfully observe the world around them. This is a simple mindfulness script for kids that can be explored as an introductory practice.
  4. Inner Land – Build Healthy Boundaries - Mindfulness visualization scripts are great tools for introducing children to meditation. To illustrate, this script explores the idea of creating healthy boundaries and nourishing oneself through a garden visualization. This may be more beneficial for older children, though it can be practiced with younger kids too.
  5. Mindful of Your Food and Eating - Another important topic we can mindfully explore with our children is food. This script, for example, encourages heightened awareness of one’s experience during a simple bite. Since we don’t often eat in this slow and mindful way, this practice is a powerful application of mindfulness that will spark some interesting conversations around the table.
  6. Visualizing Your Peaceful and Beautiful Place - This is a longer meditation that is ideal for those with a slightly greater attention span than most. To facilitate focus, it can also be listened to while lying down. In any case, this meditation draws listeners into a quiet place within. As a result, it is a powerful practice for reminding kids that peace lives within them.
  7. Short Body Scan - This mindfulness body scan script is a great exercise to reconnect children with their physical being. By heightening awareness in this way, we promote a deepening of self-awareness, inner peace, and calmness.
  8. Sleepy Train - This meditation script for kids takes listeners on a beautiful visual journey to promote deep relaxation. For children that struggle with stress or anxiety, this script might help to encourage a settling of the mind before sleep. Read it aloud with a calm and quiet tone to soothe your little ones before bed.
  9. Peaceful Butterfly - A nighttime relaxation routine for your child is ideal after an active day. This guided butterfly meditation calms little bodies and minds. They’ll fall asleep easily and sleep soundly.
  10. Bubble Blower Magic - Guided meditation scripts – like this bubble blower guided meditation for stress- are wonderful for introducing the power of relaxation and imagery into your child’s life. Starting as young as age three, you can read a guided meditation adventure to your child before bed. In doing so, you will help your child begin to use the mental tools readily available to each one of us.
  11. Visualizing the New Year - A new year brings a fresh start. It’s also the ideal time to use a guided meditation script for the new year to help your child set their intentions for the future.
  12. Inner Kingdom - Children love the use of the vivid guided meditation and imagery for fun and stress relief. Simply read the following meditation script in a calm relaxed voice to your child before bed or anytime for relaxation.
  13. Pausing to Understand Anger - Children benefit from the use of guided meditation for relaxation and stress relief. You can guide your child to processing through their anger in a healthy way. When you help a child learn how to both feel and release anger at an early age, they’ll develop the lifelong tools for handling emotions positively.
  14. Loving Your Body - Encourage a positive body image for your child with this guided meditation script. Babies are born loving their bodies. Unfortunately, our culture’s influence can make us think we’re never good enough. But you can help instill a lifelong body image relationship in your child by setting a good example at home and by giving them helpful messages like this one.
  15. Beach Relaxation - Our minds are so creative and powerful that we can transport ourselves to any place we desire, just by imagining it. Even when we can’t go to the ocean, we can still bring warmth within through our guided imagery meditation.
  16. Lakeside Meditation - In this guided relaxation meditation script, we will help your child release worry, sadness, and stress.
  17. Happy Heart - Helping your child cultivate happiness and gratitude is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Not only does it set him or her up for a more content life, it can physically be a good thing for the heart!
  18. You Are Loved - This nighttime meditation takes your child on a journey to recognize how very much they are loved. Use this script right before bed, while your child is relaxing. Speak the words gently, and use expression in your voice. Relax yourself a bit before reading to create the perfect atmosphere of calm and serenity. 
  19. The Calm Kitty - Whether you’re looking to help ease your child’s worries or emotions or could benefit from a calming guided meditation yourself, here is a script to help bring a little peace into your child’s life.
  20. Spring Renewal - Children love the use of the vivid guided meditation imagery for fun and stress relief. Simply read the words to your child in a relaxed manner as they settle into bed or at nap time. With Spring right around the corner, we’re focusing on this season’s sense of renewal and personal improvement.

Again, most of these meditations can be introduced to your child at bedtime, at least if they have the energy to undertake them. Don't force your child to meditate, but rather explain to them how focus, peace & quiet can help them in life, and even consider doing a meditation exercise yourself to provide them with an example to follow.

Why Kids Meditation Matters

The exercises above are simple and easy techniques to introduce children to the practice of meditation, which is something that is more important in today's world than ever. Children today are repeatedly exposed to violent & dramatic media, peer pressure, social media, and busy school deadlines, all which lead to mental stress.

By introducing kids meditation as a practice to help keep children balanced, they're learning a valuable tool to help them escape from a never-ending stream of conflict, drama, and emotional pressure to a place of still and quiet. Inside themselves they are able to find peace, develop a healthy & balanced sense of themselves, and reflect on life as they learn to reduce anxiety.

Kids meditation helps improve self-esteem, and gives kids tools to detach from the need to follow negative peer pressures. As they learn to experience detachment, they can distance themselves from the chaos of daily life and embrace a personal space for relaxation. This will help them experience positive feelings as they learn how to reflect on their daily successes without the anxiety that often clouds our personal narrative.

Practicing focused concentration is great for stress reduction, but also helps children develop better concentration, find emotional balance, and helps them learn how to think before simply reacting to stimuli. Without meditation, children may be a a bundle of nervous energy - but with it, kids have a valuable tool for releasing stress. As responsible parents, meditation is incredibly valuable as a tool we can provide for our children to help them realize their full potential in life.

Kids Yoga Postures For Stress Relief

New studies show that Yoga offers big benefits in stress reduction for kids, especially in specific Yoga postures that we'll discuss here. The fact that Yoga helps children should be no surprise, for adults have been turning to it for years for benefits in stress reduction & general well-being, which is why the practice of Yoga in the United States has grown by over 50% in the last four years.

In general, Yoga helps to stretch the muscles and relieve tension that occurs under daily stress, but it's more than simply a physical exercise regime. Yoga is a holistic practice that involves body postures, focused mindfulness, and intentional relaxation that helps people deal with stress in physical, mental, and emotional ways. It's safe enough that event pregnant women can do it, and doesn't require special tools or equipment to get involved with it.

As Yoga has grown in popularity, it's only natural that parents who see benefits from it would introduce their children to it. After all, children have stresses with school, peer pressure, sports, and oftentimes anxiety that comes with the challenges of growing up. For kids, Yoga teaches postures, breathing, and mindfulness that helps them deal with life's challenges. Instead of simply reacting to stimuli, yoga provides them with a tool to deal with it mentally and physically. It also helps them get more in touch with their inner self, and learn how their body and mind react to situations as they become more aware of themselves - and studies are beginning to show its effectiveness.

Studies Support Yoga Stress Relief For Kids

In the 2014 NIH study, Yoga for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Well-Being, by Ingunn Hagen and Usha S. Nayar, the authors argue that stress levels have increased for children due to pervasive media exposure, and suggest that kids yoga could be one approach to reducing stress and anxiety. They state:

"The dominant presence of multimedia devices and the time spent on them by children are clear indicators of the shift in lifestyles and priorities of our new generation. While these media technologies are valuable resources in children and young people’s lives for communication, learning, and entertainment, they also result in constant competition for youngster’s attention. A main concept in our article is that yoga may help children and young people cope with stress and thus, contribute positively to balance in life, well-being, and mental health. We present research literature suggesting that yoga improves children’s physical and mental well-being. Similarly, yoga in schools helps students improve resilience, mood, and self-regulation skills pertaining to emotions and stress."

"The dominant presence of multimedia devices and the time spent on them by children are clear indicators of the shift in lifestyles and priorities of our new generation. While these media technologies are valuable resources in children and young people’s lives for communication, learning, and entertainment, they also result in constant competition for youngster’s attention. A main concept in our article is that yoga may help children and young people cope with stress and thus, contribute positively to balance in life, well-being, and mental health. We present research literature suggesting that yoga improves children’s physical and mental well-being. Similarly, yoga in schools helps students improve resilience, mood, and self-regulation skills pertaining to emotions and stress."

In a Harvard Health blog, More than just a game: Yoga for school-age children, author Marilynn Wei writes:

"Yoga is becoming increasingly popular among American children. A national survey found that 3% of U.S. children (1.7 million) did yoga as of 2012 — that’s 400,000 more children than in 2007. Yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve both physical and mental health in school-age children (ages 6 to 12). Yoga improves balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity in children. Yoga and mindfulness offer psychological benefits for children as well. A growing body of research has already shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior, and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children.

Emerging research studies also suggest that yoga can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by improving the core symptoms of ADHD, including inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It can also boost school performance in children with ADHD. A growing number of schools now integrate yoga and mindfulness into physical education programs or classroom curriculums, and many yoga studios offer classes for school-age children. Yoga can be playful and interactive for parents and children at home, as well."

The 2018 article School-based yoga can help children better manage stress and anxiety, published in Science Daily by Tulane University, says that "Participating in yoga and mindfulness activities at school helps third-graders exhibiting anxiety improve their wellbeing and emotional health". According to principal author Alessandra Bazzano, associate professor of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health:

"Our initial work found that many kids expressed anxious feelings in third grade as the classroom work becomes more developmentally complex. Even younger children are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety, especially around test time....The intervention improved psychosocial and emotional quality of life scores for students, as compared to their peers who received standard care. We also heard from teachers about the benefits of using yoga in the classroom, and they reported using yoga more often each week, and throughout each day in class, following the professional development component of intervention."

Finally, according to a 2011 article, published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, researchers at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health found that students who practiced Yoga demonstrated improved overall behavior and ability to concentrate. Additionally, the kids practicing Yoga were less likely to perseverate on negative thoughts, often associated with depression and anxiety.

Kids Yoga Postures For Stress & Anxiety Relief

Kids experience stress and anxiety just like adults do, from situations like school, athletic programs, and various academic and social pressures. Kids Yoga for Kids helps in many areas of their life, and all of the yoga postures below help kids not only relief muscle tension, but also alleviate mental and emotional stress as well. Here are some easy yoga poses capable of providing safe, powerful stress relief to your child:

  1. Dog & Cat Poses: These two yoga postures are done together, because one flows into the other. The Dog and Cat kids yoga postures will help to increase the flexibility of the spine. The basic movement of the Dog places the child in a knee and hand crawling position, and the Cat movement is the reversal of the Dog movement. These postures require tiling of the pelvis and bending the spinal column.
  2. Mountain Pose: This is a three phase movement that improves posture, self-awareness and balance. This kids yoga posture seems easy, and is done in a standing movement that requires a lot of movement and breathing exercises to be performed at one time.
  3. Triangle Pose: The Triangle posture will have kids moving in constant motion. It stretches the spine, opens the child's torso, and help them improve their balance and concentration. Sports enthusiasts might refer to this yoga posture as the typical and laborious, windmill exercise.
  4. Warrior Pose: The Warrior Pose is one of the yoga postures for kids that will strengthen a child's arm and legs and improve balance. This posture helps to build confidence and improve a child's concentration. Sports enthusiasts call this yoga posture the lunge exercise.
  5. Easy Pose with Forward Bend: The next time your child needs to find calm, try helping them into this posture. Sit down cross-legged, and then take a nice big inhale, and on the exhale bend forward. Rest your head on your forearms. Stay here and breathe. Next, take a few slow inhales and exhales, and then sit up. Straighten your legs and shake them out.
  6. Standing Forward Bend: This pose will help release stress, worries, and muscle tension in your shoulders. To begin, stand tall, slightly bend your knees, and clasp your hands behind your back. Breathe in, and as you breathe out, bend forward and bring your arms over your head. Feel the stretch between your shoulder blades and at the back of your thighs. Stay here and breathe several times, and with your hands on hips, slowly come back up and stand. This posture will help relaxes the mind of the child, as well as the body.
  7. Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend: This pose will help your child calm their mind and quit worrying. You’ll want a yoga block or pillow. Now, stand with your feet wide apart, hands on your hips. Take a big breath in, and as you exhale, bend forward and bring your hands to the floor or to blocks. Bend your knees slightly or walk your hands forward. Let your forehead rest on a pillow to help calm your mind. Stay here and breathe – a few calm inhales and exhales – and then with hands on hips, slowly come back up and stand.
  8. Rabbit Pose: If your child is feeling highly stressed, let it all go in rabbit pose. First, start in child’s pose. Now, clasp your hands behind your back, lift your hips and carefully roll forward onto the crown of your head. Stay here and take a few breaths in and out. When you’re ready, lower your hips back down and release your arms. Relax in child’s pose.
  9. Thunderbolt Pose: Start by kneeling down and sitting back on your feet. Extend your arms straight in front of you and then bend them so your palms face you and your fingers point straight up. Place your left elbow into your right – pass your right hand in front of your left – bring palms together, or even just a few fingers on to the left palm. Hold your posture and breathe in and out. Feel the stretch between the shoulder blades. Now, switch arms, breathe, and release.
  10. Side Stretch: Begin by sitting on the floor in a comfortable position. Walk your right hand away from you and drop your head toward your right shoulder. Inhale, stretch your left arm over your head and notice where you feel a stretch. Keep your head and shoulders relaxed as you breathe in and out. When ready, switch sides, breathe, and release.
  11. Plow Pose: Begin by lying on your back. Now, pull your knees into your chest and start rocking forward and back until you can safely swing your legs up over your head. Be careful with the weight on your neck – bring your hands to your back to support yourself. Your legs can stay vertical, or your toes can touch the floor behind your head. Stay here and breathe, at least 3 – 5 breaths, and then slowly roll out of plow pose.
  12. Resting Pose: In the resting posture, lie down on your back, with your eyes either opened or closed. Take a big breath, open your mouth and then exhale deeply. Feel your arms and legs rest heavy on the floor. Inhale and exhale loudly two more times. Stay here and breathe easily until you’re completely relaxed.

Yoga Safety Tips For Kids

Kids Yoga provides a number of physical, mental & emotional benefits for children, including stronger muscles, increased flexibility, improved balance, and reduced stress and anxiety. However, like any other form of physical exercise, there are risks of injury involved. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these ten Yoga safety guidelines:

  1. Make sure your child's doctor approves them to for Yoga. It's important the doctor understands exactly what the child will be doing in Yoga class when making this assessment.
  2. Find a qualified Kids Yoga instructor with a diploma from a specialized Kids Yoga teacher training program and specialized knowledge in safely teaching Kids' Yoga programs.
  3. Find a small Yoga class that has ten or fewer students. Smaller classes are safer because the teacher is better able to address the needs of each individual child.
  4. Let parents know that if the child needs to eat, make sure he or she does so at least two hours before class. This will help avoid any digestion issues that could arise, as a result of having food in the stomach, while practicing Yoga.
  5. Make sure kids stays on their own mats during class. This will help reduce the risk of accidents that could occur during Yoga practice.
  6. Teach kids to stay within their limits. If they're feeling pain or discomfort during Yoga class, they should stop and let the teacher know.
  7. Beware of over-extending the joints. Kids are much more flexible than adults, but must develop strength and stability to support their flexibility.
  8. Start with easy Yoga posture before moving on to more challenging postures. Once kids are comfortable with basic posture, they can build on their knowledge.
  9. Include Yoga resting & counter postures in the practice. This will help avoid over-exertion of muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  10. Keep the length of the Yoga practice appropriate for kids. Children may get bored and lose focus if the class is too long.

How Yoga Helps Kids

There are many different ways that Yoga benefits children. Practicing physical postures may increase the production of endorphins and generate feelings of well-being. Breathing techniques can help regulate the nervous system, and guided relaxation techniques can provide kids with a safe, healthy techniques for responding to emotional stresses. Yoga also helps kids to increase awareness of their mental & emotional state, and can help them replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

By learning Yoga at a young age, kids not only internalize valuable techniques for dealing with the stresses of childhood, but they also gain a level of mental, physical & emotional mastery over themselves that can provide benefits throughout their  lives. Yoga helps children relieve stress, and does so in a non-competitive manner that teacher children compassion, mindfulness, and introspection - which are all valuable life skills they will need as adults.

Children are our future. If adults embrace Yoga to enrich their own lives & relieve stress, then why not share that gift with kids now, providing them with important tools early on in life. It makes sense to teach them techniques to deal with stress early on to make this valuable tool available for them when it's required, rather than having them embrace it later while they're already struggling with life's stressors.

25 Reasons To Choose A Montessori Preschool

Most parents know that Montessori education is better, but few understand the key reasons to choose a Montessori preschool for their child. With so many options available for early childhood education available, what is it about Montessori education that gives it an advantage over traditional education? Let's begin to explore some of important aspects of the Montessori method that have earned it global recognition for helping children reach their full potential for growth and learning.

Part of success of Montessori preschool education comes from Dr. Maria Montessori's recognition of "sensitive periods" for growth, which are times during a child's life when they're far more capable of learning new skills, such as language and mathematics. Modern science has only recently begun to understand the mechanisms of brain plasticity that Dr. Montessori identified over a century ago, and contemporary preschool education still hasn't embraced the methods to build off of natural brain development that's a core component of Montessori education.

Montessori preschool excels in helping children master basic skills such as language, mathematics & culture studies, but goes far beyond that to inspire their natural curiosity and help them become self-directed problem solvers with a lifelong love of learning. Rather than spoon-feeding children information and asking them to regurgitate it on demand, the Montessori Method is built around freedom and independence, and helps children identify and solve challenges without being told what or how to do it.

Montessori preschool isn't simply a collection of "best practices" for early childhood education, however. It is a complete, self-consistent philosophy of learning and development built around the careful study of children's growth and development. The result is a complete system of education used in the Montessori preschool environment that provides children with tremendous educational benefits beyond what is provided in a traditional preschool.

25 Reasons To Choose A Montessori Preschool

Here is a collection of 20 reasons to choose a Montessori Preschool for your child's educational experience, with a focus on how the Montessori approach to education not only helps your child learn, but also develops strong social connections and builds self-directed learning skills to better prepare them for life:

  1. The Prepared Environment: A Montessori preschool is a “prepared environment” to meet the developmental needs of young children. Throughout the day, Montessori teachers will work to ensure that the right materials are accessible at the right time to meet each child’s developmental stage and level of skills mastery. The materials in a Montessori classroom are well-designed, durable, and attract children to the lessons. Materials are also designed to be inherently self error-correcting to encourage independent learning and mastery by children.
  2. Learning Avenues: In a Montessori preschool, subject material is broken down into the Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics & Cultural learning avenues. These were specifically designed based on decades of research by Dr. Montessori, and contain learning materials to guide children through the various stages of preschool learning using materials that enhance learning, employ self-correction of errors, and facilitate a self-directed approach to learning that helps build intrinsic motivation and independent problem-solving skills.
  3. Cross-Avenue Reinforcement: Not only do the learning materials in a Montessori preschool specifically help children to master basic skills, they also reinforce learning from other avenues, which helps children to develop a more robust understanding of the concepts and ideas involved. The sensorial reinforcement on sandpaper letters helps children remember letter shapes. Phonic reinforcement in counting helps children master numbers. The arrangement of beads & number boards helps children to visually understand mathematical concepts. In other words, while each of the learning avenues helps mastery of a specific focus area, all of the learning areas reinforce each other in various ways to assist holistic mastery of the material from different perspectives.
  4. Hands-on Learning: Children in a Montessori preschool learn in a hands-on manner, by engaging in tasks and developing skills competency as they master them. The independent nature of the Montessori classroom allows children to choose their area of focus, engage in learning with developmentally appropriate materials, and learn from their success or failure to see whether they have mastered each task or not.
  5. Teachers & Guides: The teachers in a Montessori preschool act in the capacity of guides for the children, moving around the classroom to answer questions, demonstrate materials and lessons, and assist each of the children in an independent learning path. One important difference between a Montessori preschool and a traditional school is that teachers do not simply stand in front of the class to give lectures, and they don't interrupt children who are focused on independent learning activities.
  6. Individual Learning Paths: Every child in a Montessori preschool arrives with different strengths, needs, and learning preferences. Learning is individualized for each child by reviewing both their interests as well as the needs of their developmental stage. In certain developmental stages, children show a strong preference for particular lessons or learning materials, which teachers ensure are available to facilitate grow & development.
  7. Self-Directed Learning: By providing freedom within limits, the Montessori preschool allows children to to pursue their own interests and maximizes their ability to acquire knowledge and master new skills during the sensitive periods. The freedom in a Montessori preschool gives children the choice to pursue the lessons that interest them the most, and helps them develop skills as motivated "self-starters", which will be valuable long past preschool.
  8. Independence: The Montessori classroom is designed to encourage children to be self-motivated and independent. The prepared environment, freedom of choice, and self-correcting materials nurture the child’s sense of accomplishment and confidence. Children work to satisfy their own curiosity and inner need for achievement, and gain genuine inner confidence through their own successes.
  9. Mixed Age Classrooms: In a Montessori preschool, the ages of children typically range from 3 to 6 years old, and children often work in groups with other students of different ages. Interest and developmental level guide student engagement, not segregation by age or test-score. Montessori programs are designed to appeal to the child’s natural desire for knowledge, to encourage independence, and to help create lifelong learners.
  10. Montessori Creates Self-Starters: The self-directed learning environment in a Montessori preschool helps children to develop effective time management skills, as well as preparing them to make their own choices about which direction to take for each learning task. Teachers assist to provide guidance and help children establish achievable goals, but it is the children themselves that manage their time & effort. This self-directed, self-motivated learning style helps children to take action to solve challenges in life without waiting for prompting from others, which is a valuable leadership habit.
  11. Montessori Encourages Responsibility: In a Montessori preschool, children clean up their own messes, put away their own learning materials, and put on their own coats & shoes. Montessori encourages children to take ownership & responsibility for themselves and the environment around them, which leads to thoughtful, helpful, and more responsible children.
  12. Montessori Preschools are Child-Focused: The independent and small-group activities in a Montessori preschool are child-centric, which stands in contrast to the teacher-led activities in traditional education. Students work independently, with monitoring from teachers but without interruption, and they are allowed to focus on a particular activity without being rapidly pulled away to participate in another.
  13. Montessori Preschools Are Not Production Lines: The role of a teacher in a Montessori preschool is to observe, guide, and help their students growth and achieve. Montessori preschools do not use standardized testing, but instead employ a variety of other methods to see see students demonstrate what they have learned. Examples include teaching other students, discussion with the teacher, completing projects, or delivering presentations on their knowledge to the class.
  14. Montessori Moves From Concrete To Abstract: In a Montessori preschool, learning begins with concrete examples of concepts such as blocks or cutout letters, and gradually moves to more abstract concepts from there. This helps lead the child from easily tangible ideas to less readily apparently concepts, and helps the to better understand the basis for those concepts. Children are able to interact with ideas rather than simply memorize facts. The child quantifies a number in math, understands place value by having a visual representation of ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands, develops their senses by tactile experiences with rough and smooth boards, sound cylinders, color boxes, and learns land and water forms by pouring water into miniature land and water formations.
  15. Montessori Fosters A Lifelong Love Of Learning: Children lack the fundamental knowledge to readily adapt to demands that we place on adults - which is why they're in preschool in the first place. Rather than attempting to force them to live as miniature adults, the Montessori method embraces the idea of following the child, which allows them to naturally explore, grow and learn at their own pace. A Montessori preschool is truly a "no child left behind" environment, in that the child determines when they have achieved mastery and is driven by their own inquisitive knowledge, rather than being forced to swallow and then regurtitate facts without necessarily understanding them. The Montessori methods naturally engages the inquisitive nature of the child and allows them to think of new ways to do things. It helps the child learn for themselves, and more importantly, fosters a natural love for learning that stays with them for a lifetime.
  16. Montessori Seeks To Educate The Whole Child: Montessori takes the child’s education outside the classroom. It affects how they interact with others, the freedoms they have in the home, teaches them to care for their self, their environment, and others, and teaches them how to be an active participant in their learning and environment. Montessori equips the child for everyday life, giving them practical skills which gives them purpose and enables them to be a contributing member of their family, classroom, and community. Montessori sees the child not just as a miniature person, but as able-bodied and capable person.
  17. Montessori Abstains From Rewards: Traditional education contains a heavy Pavlovian component, which was originally introduced as a way to reinforce positive  learning outcomes, but has the unanticipated side-effect of making children dependent on rewards in return for good behavior or high test scores. By externalizing reward, the child's self-motivation is undermined and the focus on meeting external standards of recognition in return for praise rather than actually seeking out new knowledge to solve problems. Reward based education fit well with the production-line educational mentality of the 20th century, but the workers it produces are a poor fit in the knowledge economy of the 21st century.
  18. Montessori Avoids Punishment: When children understand the natural consequences of their behavior, they learn to make responsible choices on their own. Traditional education avoids this by relying on punishment as a negative reinforcement for unwanted behaviors or below-par performance, which again creates unintended consequences by teaching children to avoid punishment rather than developing a understanding of cause and consequence. Punishment for below-par performance specifically is punishing the child for a failure to comply with a broken educational model, which isn't the child's fault in the first place. The Montessori preschool environment recognizes that children are all unique learners, and that by engaging them and helping them understand the consequences of their behavior they will naturally learn to make good choices rather than doing so in order to avoid punishment.
  19. Montessori Focuses On The Individual: Traditional preschool education has an established curriculum based on the child’s age, and it is taught with the expectation that all children will the material in an identical manner. This ignores the individual strengths and challenges that each child has, and has the effect of leaving many children behind who next extra help in a particular area. An unexpected side-effect of this approach to education is that overworked teachers are motivated to pass students along who are struggling in order to demonstrate their educational competency, rather than spend the extra time to focus on actual learning. Montessori preschool education understands that no two children are at the same place in their development.
  20. Montessori Inspires Engagement: In the same way that traditional education fails to support children who are struggling to learn, it also fails to engage children who have already mastered subject material. Trying to teach children material they already know through repetition leads to bored, and they lose interest in the subject material and often get into trouble. In a Montessori environment, children can set higher goals and grow to meet their full potential without having to wait for the children around them to "catch up".
  21. Confident Lifelong Learners: Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of Montessori education. As children progress through the Montessori Curriculum, they learn to look critically at their work, and correct their mistakes. By providing children with the freedom to question and make connections, students learn to become confident and independent learners.
  22. Highly Skilled and Passionate Staff: The qualifications for working at a preschool are minimal - but Montessori preschool teachers typically undergo a rigorous training and certification process in Montessori and early childhood education and care. Teachers don't simply "end up" in Montessori education, they pursue it as a career choice because they've seen the results it produces and want to participate in a higher level of preschool education. As a result, Montessori preschool staff are highly skilled, passionate about their work, and deeply committed to helping children achieve their full potential.
  23. Complete Learning Environments: The Prepared Environment of the Montessori preschool contains a complete learning environment, designed to fit the philosophy and needs of the Montessori Method. Traditional preschools are often lacking in various learning materials because they aren't driven by a complete philosophy to benchmark their tools, materials, and curriculum against. In Montessori preschools, the design of learning programs, facilities, and classrooms is to create a complete and holistic learning environment that is supportive of children’s interests and development needs as they grow.
  24. Parent Satisfaction: Survey after survey has shown that parents are more satisfied with their children’s learning experience in Montessori preschools than in the traditional preschool environment. Despite frequent obstacles with admissions wait lists, longer commute times, and higher tuition at many Montessori schools, parents consistently say that they'd never go back to traditional preschool after the Montessori Method.
  25. Montessori Preschools Are Fun: Last, but definitely not least, Montessori preschools are a dynamic, fun-filled environment where children develop rich social relationships with their peers, caring learning relationships with their teachers, and have the freedom and flexibility to pursue learning in an exciting and dynamic way. Montessori preschool isn't about fitting children into a mold, it's about giving them the freedom to explore and learn within designed educational limits, which lets them grow and achieve while having fun each and every day!

Montessori Preschool Is The Right Choice

By now it should be obvious that Montessori preschool offers a wide array of a benefits that make it an obvious choice to help children reach their full potential. From learning materials based on a philosophically structured approach to child development to a self-directed approach to learning that develops problem solving and leadership skills, Montessori preschool education offers many important advantages for early childhood education.

Simply put, traditional preschool curriculum is no match for Montessori education, which focuses on self-directed exploratory learning around the four avenues of Montessori learning. One of the biggest benefits of online learning programs is that kids’ get access to the highest quality curriculum available, developed by professionals – which ensures that your child is receiving premium quality preschool education to help them grow and achieve.

The Benefits Of Online Preschool Learning

Online preschool learning is a valuable tool to help young children learn basic skills, develop social relationships, and prepare to enter the educational system. Many parents prefer starting their child's preschool education online because it costs less, allows scheduling flexibility, and allows them to monitor what their child is actually learning. Others remain convinced that only a brick & mortar preschool experience is suitable for learning - but recent health concerns and school closures have led them towards online preschool learning as well.

Despite differences of opinion on whether online or on-site preschool is better, every parent recognizes that the internet is an ubiquitous part of modern life, and today's children are exposed to it constantly, much like children of the past watched television. In both cases, educational learning media is become available to help children learn, grow, and properly socialize in an online media environment. A few decades ago, Sesame Street & "Hooked On Phonics" taught children basic skills through television - today, they are being supplemented and sometimes replaced by online preschool learning.

Online preschool programs give your child a head start on learning basic reading, writing, mathematics, and cultural skills, and gives them extra practice in areas where they need reinforcement. The lower cost of online preschool provides greater access to early childhood education to more families, but online preschool can also be an after-hours supplement to the existing schoolhouse preschool program to help your child focus on mastering basic skills.

Given the benefits that online preschool learning offers both parents & children, it should be no surprise that demand for online preschool programs has rapidly increased in demand over the last decade. As internet technology improves, parents are turning to virtual education as a cost-effective supplement and alternative for the preschool experience, and it continues to grow in popularity. Today, with millions of Americans working virtually from home offices, online preschool learning is a valuable alternative to traditional in-house schooling with safety, scheduling, cost, and travel advantages.

10 Benefits Of Online Preschool Learning

It may be difficult to believe that anything could replace the traditional preschool learning environment, but online preschool learning does offer a number advantages. Here are some important reasons to choose an online preschool learning environment for your child:

Comfortable & Safe Learning Environment

Online preschool learning happens in the comfort and safety of your own home, which offers health & safety benefits along with increased convenience and educational accessibility. For parents of immune-compromised children or families with increased medical risks, taking your child's preschool education online provides access to quality preschool education without medical risks. The role of comfort in online preschool is similar, especially for children with disabilities. By enrolling in an online preschool program, they are provided with social & educational benefits of preschool education from the safety & comfort of their own home.

Parent Participation & Communication

Because your preschooler will be learning from home, parents have more opportunities to work closely with their child and review the online preschool curriculum they are learning, which provides opportunities to assist and reinforce your child’s education. In addition to having more visibility into the lessons being learned, parents will also have better communication with the online preschool teacher. Teachers and parents communicate by phone, email, and in the online classroom – and teachers work closely with parents to make sure each child gets the support needed to learn and be successful in the online preschool environment.

Builds Confidence

A traditional preschool environment can be difficult for introverts, and  the quieter settings of a virtual school can often be more conducive to learning. Many children are shy about interacting in class or asking questions in a group setting, but this is less of a concern with online education. Since the classroom and teacher interaction takes place online, quieter students are on equal footing with their extroverted classmates and can more easily join in the discussion. The platform itself provides enough emotional distance to help children feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves, and chat features allow parents to ask questions quietly during the lesson without disturbing the class. Online learning programs are proven to help children build confidence, which is valuable to help them perform better in the classroom as well as in all other aspects of life.

Scheduling Convenience

Online preschool provides parents with the flexibility to spend time in the morning with their children as they work from home. Families are able to more easily adapt to the scheduling demands of today’s home-based environment, and parents aren’t tied to rigid driving schedules for preschool drop-offs or pickups. Online preschool doesn’t require parents to drive their kids to a physical location, which means less time packing lunches or extra clothing, driving to the school and more. This helps parents to stay on track with their own schedules while being reassured that children are getting the education they need.

Better Teachers

Not only can preschool students participate in online classes from anywhere, so can teachers! This means that we’re able to find the very best early childhood educators available to help your children flourish in the online environment. Unlike traditional on-site preschool, which is limited by physical proximity to the school, online preschool learning allows schools to find the very best educators who can work remotely from any location to teach the curriculum and support your child's education.

Lower Cost

Online preschool programs typically cost less than traditional preschool learning, which makes them accessible to parents with limited budgets. While price depends largely on the school and program your child is enrolled in, typically online preschool costs less than half the price of a comparable traditional program. In fact, the cost savings is substantial for online preschool is great enough that it can even be utilized as a supplement to an existing on-site preschool program to continue your child's education after-hours. The bottom line is that when children learn from home, parents are able to save money.


Online preschool reinforces the Montessori Method by helping children stay disciplined and become self-starters. Interaction with lessons and follow-up projects is done by the child in their home, and presented to the teacher during online class. Self-motivation, responsibility and time management skills too all part of what online preschool begins teaching children at a young age, which will them succeed throughout school, into the workplace and beyond.

Better Curriculum

The online preschool learning material and subject matter is able to draw from the latest in educational materials & multimedia presentations, and includes a wide variety of early childhood education subjects such as language & mathematics fundamentals, cultural studies, singing & dancing, children’s stories, and even tips on how to make cookies! Children are encouraged to actively participate and ask questions online, and to discuss each day’s lesson with the teacher as well as with their parents after school. In many ways, online preschool learning has a major advantage over traditional education, because it isn't limited by the cost of books, availability of multimedia tools, and of course it is delivered by top-notch professional educators. One of the biggest benefits of online preschool learning programs is that kids get access to the highest quality curriculum available, developed by professionals – which ensures that your child is receiving premium quality preschool education to help them grow and achieve.

Enhances Computer Skills

Developing online computer skills like accessing information, communication, and collaboration are necessary for learning and succeeding, not just in school but in life. While it's understandable that parents want to limit children's time on the computer, the simple fact is that information technology is an integral part of modern life, and developing healthy online habits is a normal part of life that begins in childhood.

Fewer Distractions

Increasing educational costs have led to larger classes sizes in both traditional schools & preschools alike. Larger classes mean more distractions - as well as less personal attention by the teacher. Disruptive students and bullying are also growing concerns that are exacerbated in traditional education due to larger class sizes - and of course, these can both affect the ability of teachers to deliver lessons and children to focus on learning activities. Online preschool learning allows students to concentrate on their studies during classes, and allows  teachers to also focus all their attention on teaching and supporting their students rather than addressing disruptive behavior.


When you stop to consider all the benefits that online preschool learning provides for both children and parents, it shouldn't be surprising that so many parents have been making the switch from traditional preschool to online education. The health and safety benefits of online preschool are just one of many advantages that virtual education offers preschool age children, and as global internet access becomes better than ever before, this form of learning is more readily available than in the past.

In addition to being an alternative to traditional preschool, online preschool learning is also a valuable after-school supplement for children to help keep them focused & engaged on enriching educational materials, and help them master skills in areas they may struggle with during the day. There still are many parents and kids who prefer classroom-based traditional teaching methods. In the end, it all comes down to what your kid is comfortable with.

Preschool age children perform well online, and part of the reason for that is the flexibility and adaptability that young minds have. They're better at adapting to new educational scenarios than many adults, and pick up new forms of online communication rapidly. The rapid growth of online programs in early childhood education is more evidence that young children are more capable of tackling complex topics than anyone had guessed.

In an online preschool program, your child has the opportunity to learn, grow and develop social relationships despite the health concerns in today's world. They have the ability to exercise cognitive skills and develop critical thinking while learning basic skills. It should be no surprise the safety, convenience, cost and other advantages associated with online preschool learning are making this an educational option that many parents are turning to in order to help nurture their children's growth and enrichment from the safety and comfortability of home.

At Home Montessori Activities

Here are 50 fun & easy at home Montessori activities to help your child learn new skills, build independence, and become more self-reliant. These activities are a wonderful way for parents to get started with Montessori learning, and a great tool for helping your child master foundational skills regardless of whether they're attending a Montessori preschool.

Dr. Maria Montessori's vision for learning was holistic in nature, taking into account the absorbent mind and sensitive periods of child develop during which they can absorb new knowledge & master skills more easily. During this period of child development, the mind is like a sponge, and children actively seek out new information and learning challenges - and children at this age are eager to model the behavior of adults, making this a wonderful time for parents to take an active role in their child's learning process.

During this stage of development, children are eager to model the behaviors of adults, making this a wonderful time for parents to help enrich the child's mind in the home environment with common household tasks & simple activities that encourage the kind of learning that Dr. Montessori promoted. By adding these tasks to your child's life on a daily basis, it provides the necessary repetition of tasks to help gain skills mastery and build concentration, and also gives your child a focal point for their energies at home, which keep them occupied with positive, productive tasks around the house.

At Home Montessori Activities

The Montessori vision for learning is assisted by the prepared environment in the classroom, but not limited to it. You can create a Montessori learning environment at home and help your child become more responsible and master new skills quite easily. The list below is an introduction to 50 different at home Montessori learning activities, which are broken down by category into the four traditional Montessori learning avenues and modern cultural avenue:

Practical life activities

The practical life avenue involves a variety of activities in the areas of caring for the self, caring for the environment, grace & courtesy and the movement of objects. The focus is on real, practical tasks from daily living, which makes it perfect for at home Montessori learning and helps children develop their motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving skills. Practical life activities is also a great way to teach children how to complete daily tasks that they will do throughout their lives, as well as helping build their confidence & self-esteem at being able to "do it themselves".

  1. Spreading crackers - Make sure that you begin this activity by having small, child-sized materials that will make it easier for your child peanut butter, jam, or cheese than using adult tableware.
  2. Squeezing orange juice - Cut oranges in half and let your child squeeze orange juice by pressing them down into a manual plastic juicer with a pitcher base.
  3. Slicing & coring applies - Using an inexpensive apple slicer & corer, your child can press the corer down over an apple on a tray to slice it apart.
  4. Peeling a hard-boiled egg: This is a great activity for developing motor skills. Cook the hard-boiled egg, and once it has cooled, crack the shells gently and peel a piece or two to start off the process then allow your child a turn. Once your child has finished peeling the egg, they can also use an egg slicer to make slices - and you can have them count the number of slices to practice mathematics as well.
  5. Dish washing - Have your child put on an apron and collect two pitchers of water: one of warm water for scrubbing, and another of cool water for rinsing. Use a bit of dish soap mixed with the warm water. Wash, rinse, and then leave the dishes to air dry in the dish rack.
  6. Pouring water - Pouring can come in a variety of forms, but typically, the exercise children begin with includes two medium size containers or pitchers arranged on a tray. They should not pour too fast, or the water will spill. Tip the pouring container just enough to start the flow of water.
  7. Hand washing - This Montessori activity allows your child to participate in caring for themselves. Teach them how to wash their hands, and facilitate this activity at home with a step-stool to allow your child to reach the sink easily and pump containers to easily apply soap.
  8. Sweeping - Helping care for the home doesn't have to be a chore, it can be a fun activity! You can help your child sweep by buying them a child-sized broom and smaller dustpan suitable for little hands, and working with them to always sweep up messy activities before moving on to the next task, just like in the classroom.
  9. Watering the plants - Inspire your child's love of gardening by getting them a small watering can that they can easily hold & carry, and it might be useful to leave a cloth nearby the plants to help them clean up any accidental spills.
  10. Putting on coat & shoes – Provide just as much help as necessary and provide clothing that is easy for the child to learn to master.

Sensorial activities

The sensorial area in a Montessori classroom focuses on lessons that help children develop the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Sensory learning is a fundamental part of early brain development, and providing at home Montessori sensorial lessons will help provide your child with hands-on experience that fosters independent, self-directed learning.

  1. Animal Walk Races  - Do a bear crawl, crab walk, or other animal walk race! It will be both great exercise and help develop your child's motor skills.
  2. Play Hopscotch - Use sidewalk chalk to draw out the hopscotch squares. Hopscotch helps develop motor control and balance. Drawing the squares with chalk makes it a fun art project and allows them to work on their pincer grasp.
  3. Play the Silence Game -  Challenge your child to see how they can stay silent the longest. Set a timer that they can watch. Or set a challenge of staying silent for 90seconds. If they can’t stay quiet that long offer a chance to try again! Afterward, ask them what they heard during the silence. This helps develop auditory awareness and skills.
  4. Have a Scavenger Hunt -  Make a list of items that could be found in the house or in the yard. Allow your child to walk around until they find all the items. This fun activity helps develop visual awareness and variation.
  5. Play with Playdough - Allow your child to sit and play with playdough as they desire. This helps them develop their tactile sensory skills, as they knead, roll, or squeeze the playdough. Extend this activity into a science lesson by making your own homemade playdough with flour, cream of tartar, salt, warm water, and vegetable oil. You can even use food coloring to help develop their sense of sight!
  6. Paint with Q-tips - Demonstrate for your child how they can paint using a Q-tip instead of a paintbrush. This will help develop their pincer grip, and the disposable nature of Q-tips makes cleanup easier than washing brushes.
  7. Guess a Mystery Scent - Invite your child to sit down and be blindfolded. Bring them different objects from around the house (flowers, fresh laundry, hand soap, etc) and have them identify what they are smelling.
  8. Start a Band - Either make or use instruments around your house and play them. Create new songs, or practice repeating a demonstrated rhythm. This will help to refine their auditory sense.
  9. Take a Taste Test - Invite your child into the kitchen with you and ask you to make a meal that allows them to taste all the different components of the meal. Developing their gustatory sense!
  10. Go Outside Barefoot - This allows children to develop their tactile senses in their feet. Feeling the difference between grass, bark, hardwood tiles, or carpet is a great opportunity for them to learn and differentiate between textures!

Language activities

The language avenue is focused on providing children with important lessons that introduce children to spoken and written language. It begins with the introduction of letters and sounds, and in the classroom setting includes teaching them to differentiate between consonants, vowels, and key sounds. Teaching your child begins in the home - and at home Montessori enrichment helps continue your child's enrichment with reading, writing, and grammar skills.

  1. Work on Basic language skills – Reading stories, singing songs, and having conversations throughout the day will all help your child develop these important basic skills like speaking and listening. Remember to keep learning concrete and hands-on. Preschool children learn best when they can see, hear, touch, and manipulate learning materials.
  2. Focusing on letter sounds first - Before children can learn to read or write, they need to spend time learning about letter sounds. This skill is called phonemic awareness, and it’s a critical part of early language development. Sounds come first, and letters will follow.
  3. Speak Clearly - Use a natural tone of voice and normal speaking inflections. Use the same words consistently to describe objects. Speak in complete sentences, and remember to enunciate.
  4. Use descriptive words - Preschool children need a growing vocabulary in order to understand the thoughts of others. The best time for young children to learn words is the ages of three to six, which is what Dr. Montessori called the sensitive period for language. She described it as a window of opportunity, during which the child is drawn to a particular activity or experience and finds it especially easy.
  5. Learn two languages - Children can learn a language by absorbing it like a sponge during the sensitive period, and this is also a great time to help them become bilingual. Teaching your child a second language works best if bilingual parents choose a language and use it consistently. Associating one language with one parent at first helps the child discriminate between languages and know which language is being spoken.
  6. Sing Songs - This is a great way to introduce language and to communicate with your children. Whatever your singing ability, children love to hear you sing! Start with classics like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." You can use different words to fit these basic tunes or any song you know, or make up your own melodies and lyrics.
  7. Read Books - Do you remember how much you loved story time when you were a child? Read poems and nursery rhymes, stories and counting books, newspapers and picture books. Exposure to a broad range of written styles provides children with more diversity of knowledge and thought to learn from.
  8. Use big words - Children are very capable of using big words, and they love learning complicated words and phrases that name the things they see around them.
  9. Name what children see - Name sights, sounds, tastes, smells & textures - all of the sensorial areas. As children experience new sounds, sights, tastes and so on, ask them what sensation they are feeling, and get them to describe it to you in detail.
  10. Play The I Spy Game - "I spy with my little eye something blue." Or shaped like a square. You probably played I Spy a million times as a child - relive those golden memories with your own child and help them identify different objects around them based on simple descriptions.

Mathematics activities

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that way that children are mathematical by nature, and they are driven by the desire to absorb, manipulate, classify, order, sequence, and abstract knowledge during the sensitive periods. In the classroom, the mathematics avenue teaches numeration, place value, fractions, and the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. During at home Montessori learning, focus on practical, daily activities that promote mathematical skills in the manner they're used throughout daily life.

  1. Count Everything - Count the number of people you see who are wearing blue, wearing a hat, or walking a dog. Count the number of buttons on your shirt. Count tiles on the floor, spoons on the table, cars that you pass while driving. The more you count, the more ingrained numbers will become for your child.
  2. Buy Groceries - Get your child to help you count out the things you need at the grocery store. For example, “We need six tomatoes, can you help me find six?” This helps them learn the names of food items as well as practice counting.
  3. Follow a recipe - Counting ingredients while cooking is a great way to mix mathematics with sensorial, practical life, and even cultural learning avenues. Try writing out a simple recipe, and let your child help you count ingredients. Make sure not to correct your child if they make a mistake, and remember the Montessori rule of cleaning up their work area before moving on to another project.
  4. Spending Money - As your preschool child becomes more familiar with money, let them help count out coins or dollars while paying at the store. Money is a good, concrete example of counting to 100, and the various coin denominations will help them to count one dollar by pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
  5. Play a game - Many children's games include numbers, such as Simon Says or the counting in Hide and Seek. Many board games also include numbers, such as counting spaces or even counting play money.
  6. How tall are you? - Children get excited to see themselves grow over time, so periodically measure your child’s height and show them the numbers on the tape measure. Let your child help measure the height of their own toys, and see if they can figure out how much they have grown since the first (or previous) measurement.
  7. Create a road trip game - Ask your child to count how many stop signs, green lights, or red cars they see while you’re driving. Keep it simple and concrete, and if they make a mistake don't correct them.
  8. Read and sing about numbers - Read books with numbers, and sing children’s songs that involve counting. This is a great way to encourage holistic learning that involves the language and mathematics avenues.
  9. Play with patterns - Pattern play is a great way to indirectly prepare children for math. You can use tangrams and take turns making patterns, or make patterns with stickers or by stringing beads.
  10. I wonder how many - Inspire your child's imagination by having them guess about how many objects could fit inside another. How many people fit in a car? How many people fit in an airplane? How many grains of sand on the beach? Their answers may not be accurate, but simply asking the question inspires their imagination!

Culture activities

The cultural curriculum is a modern Montessori learning avenue taught by many schools that includes history, biology, geography, physical science and art. You can help open your child's mind to the richness and diversity of the world around them with at home Montessori learning that fosters their natural developmental curiosity about people, places, animals, and history.

  1. Read books about other countries - and their special cultures. We really love the Lakeshore Children of the World Book Set. The books contain interesting facts, more about the spoken language, what the money looks like and wonderful discussion questions to ask students.
  2. Print out a world map - Show your child where each country is located on a map or world globe. You can work with them to sound out the country names, discuss the culture in each country, and talk about how long it would take to fly to that country.
  3. Find a traditional recipe - Pick a delicious recipe from another culture and have your child help you prepare the dish at home. If your family comes from another culture, this is a great way to begin sharing your child's heritage with them as well!
  4. Listen to multicultural music – Play popular songs from different countries and cultures, and ask children what they think of each style. Don't forget to add in some sing-a-long music to help develop their language skills.
  5. Spelling the country names – Mix together the cultural and language avenues by using sandpaper letters or the letter box to spell out country names.
  6. Learn some greetings - Learn how to say hello, goodbye and thank you in each language.
  7. Talk about animals - Discuss the animals that can be found in each country. Children always love learning about animals.
  8. Learn about world holidays - Print out a list of major holidays around the world and discuss each holiday and the culture that it originates from as it comes.
  9. Meet people from other cultures - Attend cultural festivals in your area and help your child learn about their language, traditional clothing, and cultural cuisine.
  10. Visit a museum - Spend time at a local museum touring the exhibits, learning about native cultural inhabitants in your area, and exploring your area's local history.


When you're engaging your child in at home Montessori activities, the most important thing to remember is to keep it fun. You don't want your child to feel pressured, but instead have them feel self-motivated to practice each task, which will result in skills mastery and help them develop a long-term love of learning.

You should also remember to focus on the learning process rather than the result. These skills require repetition to gain mastery, which is great for building concentration but may not always produce the result you're looking for. Your child may not achieve perfection, but your child is learning to master these skills and you will have a life-long helper as these tasks become part of their daily routine.

These at home Montessori activities are fun, but also help your child feel a part of the family and able to contribute, as well as helping them learn to take responsibility for their home. Additionally, these activities are also good way to calm busy children and redirect their energy in productive ways.

How To Be A Great Montessori Parent

The Montessori Method is a complete philosophy for early childhood education that embraces self-directed learning and exploration. As a Montessori parent, you can promote the principles of freedom and independence to help your child build confidence, master fundamental skills, get a head start on academic studies, and develop a passion for learning and achievement that will last a lifetime.

While Dr. Maria Montessori's philosophy is widely taught in Montessori schools, she intended it to to be holistic in nature, and her approach to communication, discipline, teaching and the prepared environment applies equally well at home as it does in school.

In your role as a parent, you can apply the same fundamental principles of Montessori teaching in your own home to ensure success in your child's development and foster their need for self-directed learning and exploration.

10 Tips For Being A Great Montessori Parent

Here are ten tips to become a great Montessori parent by embracing the philosophy pioneered by Dr. Maria Montessori in your own home. They don't require a radical change to your lifestyle or expensive investment to put in place, and they are simple enough that any parent can use them to help you raise a healthy & confident child who loves learning and independent problem solving:

1. Respect Your Child's Individuality

It's natural for us to respect other adults, but our role as authority figures for children means that we sometimes forget to to give them the respect they deserve. We're more than simply authority figures, though: we're also teachers, mentors, family members and friends - and as a Montessori parent, you need to model respectful behavior by showing your children respect. Doing this will help them feel loved & valued, not just as children, but for their thoughts, opinions & goals as well - and it's something they will model in turn in their peer-level relationships with other children.

Remember to look your children in the eyes when you speak to them, give their ideas the consideration they deserve, and try to place yourselves in their shoes to better understand and identify with their perspective. Remember that they have needs and goals just like adults do, and teach them respect and courtesy by setting good examples. If you treat your child with respect, they will model this behavior and treat others the same way, and it will become a good habit that's part of their character for life.

2. Promote Your Child's Independence

Dr. Maria Montessori strongly believed in the concept of self-directed learning, which is one of the most widely-promoted benefits of Montessori education. Montessori schools produce self-starters who go on to great things, and this originates with encouraging the child's  self-confidence and motivation.

Not surprisingly, the learning materials in Montessori classrooms are designed to encourage self-directed learning and self-correction of errors, which fosters independence. They give children control over their learning and also provide them with a sense of responsibility. In the home environment, you can be a better Montessori parent by making your child's toys, games, snacks, and art supplies accessible to them without help.

Another way to foster independence is to let your let your child dress themselves or tie their own shoelaces at a younger age. Opportunities like this for children to take ownership over themselves and their daily tasks allow them to begin functioning more independently at a younger age. Just remember that your child lacks the same judgement & responsibilities as an adult, so be prepared to assist them if they struggle.

3. Encourage Freedom Within Limits

The notion of "freedom within limits" is a Montessori concept related to independence and self-directed learning. By allowing them to pursue their interests and passions you foster their independence, and by establishing boundaries for their behavior you help them refrain from destructive behaviors or hurting others.

In the home environment, let your child decide what to focus on. Being a Montessori parent at the park could mean letting them pick the equipment they want to play on. Give them the space and opportunity to move around and simply be children - but establish boundaries related to playground safety, time to come inside, bedtime, and other safety related items.

Giving you child choices, options, and freedom expands their opportunity for self-directed learning by freely exploring their environment. If they are overwhelmed with options, you can focus their minds on making a choice between two different options, which will help them more easily decide. This empowers your child and gives them the ability to take charge of your own childhood as much as safely possible.

4. Create A Prepared Environment

Rather than limit the child's freedom through confrontation and discipline, Dr. Maria Montessori designed the classroom itself to direct and guide the child's attention through what she called a "prepared environment". This environment contains intentionality to its design, such as which materials are available for use, and the position and grouping of items into learning avenues.

As a Montessori parent, you can also create a prepared environment, by organizing and positioning toys, games, puzzles, clothing, and daily task items such as your child's grooming supplies to make them easier for your child to reach & use. Montessori classrooms use child-sized furniture and child-height tables & shelves for this task.

Additionally, Montessori classrooms are orderly, clean, and peaceful, which assists children in feeling comfortable in their environment. You can do the same in your child's room or play areas, and just like the classroom, work with them gently on returning toys, items and other materials to their proper place before beginning another task.

5. Don't Interrupt Learning

Another key aspect of the Montessori environment is that children are able to work without interruptions, which allows them to focus on tasks until completion. At the beginning of each day, children choose their own work, gather their own materials, and learn in a self-directed manner.

In the home, try not to unnecessarily interrupt your child while they are learning. Giving them room to learn, play, and grow allows them to develop problem solving skills. While there are always limits to the amount of time a child can spend on a task before necessary interruptions for dinner, bedtime, or stories, being a good Montessori parent means respecting your child's focus and allowing them to work without interruption is desirable.

6. Communicate Clearly & Respectfully

Montessori teachers communicate with children using a clearly articulated voice - and so should you. Children model adult behaviors, including speech patters, so make sure to use good pronunciation, and try to use a diverse vocabulary including "big words", and give them the names of objects around them to help expand their vocabulary.

It's easy for parents to fall into the pattern of speaking simply around young children, but speaking simply doesn't mean baby-talk. Have real conversations with your child, and help them model polite, respectful communications. Don't interrupt them repeatedly while they are speaking or forming thoughts, and don't rapidly dismiss ideas when they suggest them.

Clear communication is something we strive for in adult conversations, and the same is true when communicating with children. Ultimately, the vast majority of their early language skills and conversational behaviors will be modeled after you, so make sure you're conversing in a respectful way worth modeling.

7. Demonstrate Patience & Tolerance

The Montessori classroom is an open, loving, and caring environment that values children's thoughts and ideas. Patience and tolerance are key components of successful Montessori education, and are also an acknowledgement that your child is growing and exploring. They will make mistakes, test boundaries, and sometimes be slow. Be patient with your child and remember that many simple tasks for an adult like yourself are learning challenges for your child.

Being a tolerant Montessori parent includes being patient, and also involves the quiet acknowledgement that your child is exploring the world in their own way. Children get muddy, covered with paint, spill ingredients while cooking, and make other messes. Set expectations with your child and help them develop skills for cleaning up the messes they create, but be tolerant of the learning process. In the Montessori classroom children are expected to clean up & put away materials before beginning a new project, but that doesn't mean the learning environment is always organized while they are learning.

8. Don't Be Judgmental

Another part of the Montessori mantra for self-directed learning is to allow children to make their own mistakes and learn from them. Don't simply point out errors in a judgemental manner - instead, model the correct way to do it. Learning is not a perfect process, and children need to be allowed to make mistakes. If they live in an environment where they fear judgement, they won't attempt new challenges for fear of failing.

Rather that pointing out flaws, failures, or errors, remember that even if your child didn't complete a task correctly, they are learning correctly - which is ultimately what counts. Don't make a big deal out of the bumps along the way. Instead, teach by example and model behaviors & actions that you want them to emulate.

9. Observe Your Child's Behavior

As a Montessori parent, you should constantly aware of your child's interests and intellectual & emotional development. In the Montessori classroom, teachers act as "guides" to observe your child and understand what areas they're having success or struggles in. In the home, watch your child while they're playing by themselves to find out what truly drives their interest, as well as what may be giving them frustration.

The key to observation is to allow your child the freedom and independence to pursue their own interests, but keeping an eye on them to see their progress, as well as remaining available to answer questions and provide assistance if they need it. Be there - and be aware - but do it without interfering or disrupting their focus.

10. Use Natural & Engaging Toys

We live in the era of disposable, plastic toys that are cheap to buy and easy to replace - and yet, Montessori schools the world over favor durable materials made from wood and natural materials. As a Montessori parent, it's not practical to try and have a full set of Montessori materials in your home - but you don't need that to encourage learning.

Cheap, plastic toys break easily and waste money. Instead, buy toys, tools, and materials with timeless appeal that encourage hands-on learning, safe experimentation, and inspire your child's curiousity. Toys like this are often simple and inexpensive, and don't require batteries. As you engage your child's hands, you'll engage their mind, and create a level of interaction and problem solving that watching TV doesn't provide.


Montessori parenting is not a replacement for the strong educational foundation provided at a Montessori school, but instead a complimentary supplement to that education that you can provide in the home environment. By giving your child the freedom to grow, learn and make mistakes, you're helping them to develop the independence and self-confidence that leads to success in school and in life.

The aim of Montessori parenting is not to ignore your child - but also not to overwhelm or interfere with their learning.  Instead, try to  observe your child's problem solving skills and play activities, and assist them when necessary, but don't overwhelm them. Give your child the opportunity and space to work independently, and along with the uninterrupted time required to focus on mastering skills, and you will be rewarded with a confident and independent child ready to achieve success throughout their life.

The Prepared Environment & Montessori Learning Avenues

Dr. Maria Montessori’s vision for the ideal classroom was to create what is called a "prepared environment" for maximum success in learning, exploration & growth.  Her model for the of prepared environment is a calm, ordered and highly-structured learning environment where children are capable of freely choosing their own activities in a self-directed manner.

In contrast to the discipline-driven classrooms in traditional education, in a Montessori preschool teachers act as guides for the children, helping facilitate learning independent learning and exploration. Rather than strictly directing children to undertake specific tasks at specific times, Montessori students are provided "freedom within limits", where the structure in the environment itself directs their attention to learning activities. Teachers do not need to force children to fit into a learning mold, because the environment itself is the path to growth and skills mastery - allowing teachers to prepare the environment and guide students while the children themselves maintain the structure, order, and harmony of the prepared environment.

In the Montessori prepared environment, children are given the freedom to explore and develop their unique potential, and materials are organized by subject into avenues of learning. Children have access to the right tools at the right time, for a range of activities beginning with concrete learning activities and growing more abstract as they master fundamental skills.

Within the learning avenues, the Montessori classrooms offers an array of materials designed to match a variety of different developmental levels and appeal to the unique interests of each child. The learning materials in a prepared environment are organized on child-height, shelves for accessibility, and the furniture, fixtures, tools, and utensils in a Montessori classroom are all designed for children as well. Hence, the prepared environment is made accessible to children, and designed to foster independent growth to the greatest extent possible.

The Six Principles Of The Prepared Environment

Dr. Maria Montessori outlined six guiding principles for the Prepared Environment, which include: Freedom; Structure and Order; Beauty; Nature and Reality; Social Environment; and Intellectual Environment.

1. Freedom

One of the most important goals of the Montessori prepared environment is to facilitate freedom of choice, which fosters self-directed learning. By giving children the freedom to explore, move, interact socially, or work by themselves, the prepared environment supports children in working independently, seeking out materials and opportunities as required.

Dr. Montessori believed freedom was an essential part of a healthy learning environment, and that children required freedom to follow their own impulses to seek knowledge and master skills. The freedom provided in the prepared environment helps children develop a positive relationship with the concept of work, helps them become motivated self-starters who forge their own path in the world.

2. Structure and Order

The child's freedom in the Montessori prepared environment can only exist because of the structure and order in the environment itself. This is the core idea behind the phrase "freedom within limits". For example, learning materials are stored on their proper places on shelves, and children put materials away and clean up after themselves in their practical life learning avenue. This supports Maria Montessori's belief that a structured environment is required during the early sensitive period to assist children in internalizing structure into their own mind.

The need for structure & order in the prepared environment does not mean that the classroom is a stagnant place. Oftentimes, Montessori classrooms can sometimes seem quite hectic, but this is typically observed by people unfamiliar with the inherent structure of the environment and the routines that help preserve that structure during the day. Change does happen - and it is very welcome. However, in the Montessori prepared environment it's important to carefully consider changes before implementing them to avoid disrupting the children's independence or self-directed productivity.

3. Beauty

Dr. Maria Montessori was a firm believer in creating an attractive, inviting learning environment that welcomes children in and entices them to touch, explore, and move. She believed in exploratory, hands-on learning, so beauty means having an uncluttered and well-maintained environment that inspires calmness and harmony. In the Montessori prepared environment, beauty helps reinforce structure and order, and offers predictability without being boring.

Montessori schools rely on structure, simplicity and the attractive presentation of the learning materials to showcase the beauty of this self-directed method of learning. The same beauty can be found at an in-home Montessori school as you'll find in a large, newly built educational facility - and both prepared environments create an atmosphere that is comfortable, familiar, and conducive to the Montessori learning experience.

4. Nature and Reality

Dr. Montessori had a deep respect nature, and strongly felt that that natural world was inspirational for children's learning. She advocated for outdoor time for children, and suggested that Montessori teachers should get children out of the classroom for walks, games, and fresh air. The ability to spent time in the natural environment and interact with it harmoniously is deeply ingrained into Montessori education, and provides a good balance to the indoor learning environment.

The role of nature in the prepared environment is also the reason that Montessori schools use natural materials are used as much as possible, such as wood, metal, bamboo, cotton, and glass, rather than relying on plastics. Dexterity work utilizes natural materials like grains of sand and kernels of corn, and practical life activities include tasks such as cutting fruit. The need for child-sized furniture, utensils, and other objects is built upon functional needs such as this.

5. Social Environment

Social development in the mixed-age environment is a key part of the Montessori experience, and the prepared environment is designed to encourage freedom of interaction. Where this freedom exists, children learn to work easily with others, and compassion and empathy for others as well. The social environment in a Montessori school encourages work and play in groups, as well as recognizing the need for independent alone-time as children focus their energies on mastering new tasks.

Social interactions in a Montessori school are never forced - instead, children are given the freedom to interact with others through work, rest, and play. This fosters a camaraderie among the children, and develop trust with each other as well as providing mentorship and emotional support. This prepared environment also helps to provide children with positive conflict-resolution skills, and creates peer-level relationships that help children interact with  empathy rather than envy.

6. Intellectual Environment

The intellectual principle of the prepared environment seeks to create a mentally enriching environment for children where they can expand and develop their intellects through the Montessori curriculum.  Montessori schools are filled with learning materials and activities to foster engagement and growth, and children understand that the classroom is a place for learning.

The purpose of the Montessori environment is to nourish and enrich children's development in a holistic manner, with intellectual growth being only a component of that. In a Montessori environment that values all of Maria's Montessori principles of the prepared environment, educators will be able to guide children through developmentally appropriate learning materials that allow children to fully develop their unique potential.

The Four Learning Avenues Of The Prepared Environment

Now that we've discussed the guiding principles of the prepared environment, it's worth exploring how the materials are organized within that environment to support the educational needs and goals of the children. In a Montessori preschool classroom, materials are organized into four major avenues of learning, which are: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Mathematics.

Practical Life

The practical life avenue involves activities and exercises in the areas of caring for the self, caring for the environment, grace & courtesy and the movement of objects. The focus is on real, practical tasks from daily living, such as pouring and scrubbing, washing dishes, setting a table, sewing and gardening, or practicing grace and courtesy, and done with real, everyday tools, often scaled down for smaller hands.

Practical life avenue lessons help children develop their motor skills, improve hand-eye coordination, and problem solving skills. They also teach important preparatory lessons for daily tasks that children will do throughout their lives, and help to help build the child's confidence & self-esteem at being able to "do it themselves" as they master everyday life skills.

Sensorial Development

The sensorial area in a Montessori classroom focuses on lessons that help children develop the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Early childhood education studies have shown that sensory learning is a fundamental part of early brain development, and helps build essential neurological connections.

The learning materials are designed to help children refine their sensory perceptions and assist them in developing from concrete to abstract learning. Montessori’s sensorial materials provide hands-on experience for the senses and are designed to facilitate self-correction of errors, which helps children to learn independently.

Development of Language

The language avenue contains a variety of lessons that are designed to introduce children to spoken and written language, and begins by introducing them to letters and sounds, along with teaching them to differentiate between consonants, vowels, and key sounds.

Sandpaper letters, metal insets, vocabulary cards, sound boxes, the moveable alphabet, rhyme cards, and sentence building cards are all tools that are used to assist language instruction, and color-codings on the letters and texture on sandpaper cards assists with multi-sensorial learning as well. These skills open the door to reading, writing, and grammar skills.

Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that way that children manipulate symbols and information naturally encourages them to build competency in mathematics, and that the acquisition of mathematical principles is driven by the desire to absorb, manipulate, classify, order, sequence, and abstract knowledge during the sensitive periods.

The mathematics avenue teaches concepts such as numeration, place value, fractions, and the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and uses classic Montessori materials such as golden beads, number rods, and spindle boxes. This avenue also teaches basic scientific principles and helps children understand basic principles of space, zoology, geology, biology, earth science, and much more.


Dr. Maria Montessori believed that creating a structured, harmonious space that provides children with the freedom to explore, grow & master new skills was essential for self-directed learning. This is what she called the prepared environment, and within it materials are organized into four learning avenues for practical life, sensorial development, the development of language and the early preparation of the mathematical mind.

The structure of the prepared environment and the avenues it contains are staples of Montessori schools around the world, and are critical to the successful implementation of the Montessori method. The materials used are specifically designed to meet children's developmental needs through the different stages of early childhood development, and by working independently children develop confidence and self-esteem as they move from concrete to abstract concepts and master new skills.

Phonics and Montessori Phonics Education

Phonics helps children learn to read by correlating sounds with letters in the alphabet or written syllables. It's important because the development of reading in children depends on an understanding that letters and letter patterns represent the sounds of spoken language, and an understanding of phonics forms a bridge between written and spoken language that helps children "decode" writing by  words by sounding out words using phonics.

It's important to focus on phonics in preschool, partly because it provides a strong foundation for more complex language skills later on, but also because young children are in what Dr. Maria Montessori described as the sensitive period for language, which lasts from birth to age 6, and allows them to rapidly internalize and master new language skills.

Children who learn using phonics exercises develop higher proficiency in reading, and is especially helpful for children who struggle recognizing written words, because phonics helps them recognize the sounds in the word that they read. Phonics helps children with letters and syllables, which not only improves reading speed, but also assists in comprehension.

When it comes to reading, comprehension is more valuable than speed for building language fluency, and phonics exercises that require matching letters, syllables, simple words, and sounds with images help children "connect the dots" in learning how letters work together to form sounds, and common objects and concepts that those sounds represent. Phonics increases comprehension by improving reading accuracy,  which in turn leads to greater self-confidence in language skills for the child.

Benefits of Phonics

When children are taught the phonics method of reading, it leads to increased competency & proficiency in their language skills at a younger age. This gives them a head start on reading & writing, and helps build confidence in their language skills that makes learning new materials a fun experience. Here are some of the key benefits children typically see from using phonics:

Increases Vocabulary

Phonics helps children to learn the parts of a word by sounding out letters & syllables, which they can utilize when they encounter new words for the first time. This helps increase their overall word-recognition and allows them to more rapidly add new words to their vocabulary. As they practice reading, phonics becomes internalized, and soon they can recognize new words in a natural, fluid manner.

Helps Decipher Words

Deciphering a word is the process that children use to sound out the various letters & syllables of a new word using phonics. As they learn the sounds associated with the letters & syllables, their linguistic abilities grow and they are more able to decipher new words. This builds the child's confidence in their reading ability, and helps them progress from simple to more complex reading materials.

Encourages Reading Skills

The increased confidence and independence that phonics provides children helps reduces frustration with learning to read, and encourages them to read more frequently. This helps immerse children in a rewarding process of reading, and allows them to confidently undertake new & more complex reading materials. Children feel ready to pick up new books, armed with the ability to sound out new words as they go, which helps them ascertain meaning and leads to the development of superior language skills at a young age.

Increases Cognitive Abilities

The English language has picked up many linguistic components from other languages, and as a  result it doesn't necessarily follow predictable rules. This can lead to frustration and confusion that undermine the reading competency of young children, but by using phonics it provides children with the tools to create their own mental map of the language, and encourages them to read more frequently. Phonics is a wonderful tool for helping children develop reasoning, analysis and logic, and helps increase their cognitive language skills.

Supports Writing Skills

By using phonics to sound out letters and syllables, children are not only able to read more effectively, but also more able words and sentences through their sounds while they write. Many children write by saying words in a sentence in their head and then writing the words on paper - but they often encounter frustration with spelling that can be an obstacle to early writing. Phonics helps them sound out the parts of a word to themselves, which helps them overcome obstacles from difficult words and helps them write words & sentences more proficiently.

Montessori Phonics Education

When phonics is taught using the Montessori Method, the focus is on learning groups or sets of letters rather than the entire alphabet. Letters are introduced by their sounds, rather than names, and taught in manageable groups to help children rapidly begin using letters to encode and decode words. Visual association is an important part of the learning process as well, and simple words are associated with specific objects. Rather than a process of rote memorization for thousands of words, phonics helps children build language competency by breaking the language down into a collection of only 44 sounds.

The sensitive periods of child development are important in learning phonics. These are the periods of rapid growth & development that Dr. Maria Montessori described when children are able to rapidly absorb information and master new skills - and they play a large role in helping children master language skills like reading. The Montessori approach to phonics is holistic in nature, and encourages children to discover and recognize the sounds that each letter makes and learn the relationship between the sounds, letters and words. Instead of focusing on rote memorization of the letters to create words, the child's focus is directed to the combination of letters and sounds that comprise words, which children can then use to more easily decipher the words they read.

The Montessori method approaches phonics education holistically, and attempts to engage multiple senses in the learning process to bolster association and increase learning retention. One approach to multi-sensorial phonics education engages the sense touch by using letters made from sand paper. Children can trace the outline of each letter with their fingers, and feel the sensation of the sand paper as they simultaneously pronounce the sound associated with it. This provides a tactile association between the shape of the letter and its individual sound that helps children learn more effectively. As children continue to their linguistic growth and development, then can then progress from single letters to simple words, then short phrases eventually compete sentences.

Montessori Methods For Teaching Phonics

The Montessori method for teaching phonics has proven to be a highly effective tool for building language competency in preschool children as young as age 4. Dr. Maria Montessori described a number of activities to effectively introduce children to phonics principles, such as:

Teaching Sounds Before Letter Names

In the Montessori approach, letters are first introduced by their sounds instead of their names. They can introduced in six groups of four letters each, and must be proncounced clearly to ensure that children learn the correct sounds. Again, the alphabet is not introduced in contiguous order, but instead by how useful the letters are for helping children form words.

Teaching Lowercase Letters First

In Montessori schools, lowercase letters are introduced first, because most of the words that children will encounter when they first begin reading are composed of lowercase letters. Uppercase letters are introduced later, after children feel confident with the phonic associations in the lowercase alphabet.

Teaching Short Vowels First

Children are also introduced to words with short vowel sounds first, because they are likely to encounter those first in early reading. Short vowel sounds are found in words like "cat", "bed", and "sit". Their simplicity makes them easier to pronounce and memorize, and short words that contain them are an easy transition in complexity from single letter sounds.

Using Sandpaper Letters

Sandpaper letters have a rough texture, which helps children associate the tactile sensation of tracing the shape of the letter with their fingers to the phonics associated with it. This reinforces Dr. Montessori's holistic approach to education that involves using eyes, ears, and hands as part of a coordinated learning activity that reinforces learning and bolsters the child's retention of language skills.

Using The Moveable Alphabet Box

The small moveable alphabet is a wooden box containing 26 wooden letters, with vowels painted in blue and consonants in red. It is a tool used in Montessori learning to teach reading, spelling, and writing, and provides children with a tactile dimension to learning phonics similiar in nature to the sandpaper letters. When children can feel the shapes of letters, it helps reinforce the phonics they associate with them, and by putting together letters, they learn the process of encoding words.

Embracing Montessori Phonics Education

Over a century of Montessori learning has demonstrated the benefits of phonics education for children, especially in a multi-sensory environment where phonics is taught in accordance with the principles outlined by Dr. Maria Montessori herself. Phonics has proven to be highly successful in helping children building foundational language skills and confidence in their own abilities, and because of this is now being adopted by the mainstream educational community as well.

Phonics is not without controversy, but the national adoption of phonics by countries including Australia, the UK, USA, Singapore, the Bahamas, and Nigeria is a testament to the growing popularity of this natural, organic method for teaching language. Learning sounds & object associations is a fun and enriching experience for children, and gives children a head-start on language skills that often puts them ahead of their peers throughout their entire school careers.

Ultimately, phonics is a valuable tool for giving children the best possible introduction to language skills, and provides both linguisitic context and familiarity  that helps children forge ahead as confident, self-directed readers and writers. It should be no surprise that the ability of phonics to empower children to learn on their own is one of the reasons that Dr. Maria Montessori chose this method of learning. Teaching children recognize the sounds of letters and syllables empowers them with the ability to look at a word and discern the most reasonable sound of the word should be - which fosters higher proficiency and valuable independence in literacy.

10 Benefits Of A Montessori Preschool

Over the last few years, the Montessori Method has risen to prominence in educational circles as being a highly effective tool for helping children master the basic skills required for long-term success. Although Dr. Maria Montessori developed this educational philosophy over a century again, it has not only remained valid in the modern world, but has actually been validated and reinforced by emerging research on early childhood education.

The reason for its success is that Dr. Montessori recognized that children naturally go through sensitive periods during which they can easily acquire new skills, and also have a natural curiosity to explore new ideas. By allowing children to direct their own psychic energy towards learning activities - and not interrupting them while they learn - the Montessori method has proven itself as a remarkable and holistic method for early childhood education.

Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that structure is important in a learning environment, but she approached the need for it differently than traditional education. Rather than seeking to control children's behavior and attention or employing a reward & punishment model for classroom education, Montessori built structure in the learning environment itself with precisely designed educational materials & lessons that provide children a form of "freedom within limits" to learn more effectively.

10 Benefits Of A Montessori Preschool

There are many benefits to enrolling your child in a Montessori preschool, including a wide variety of cognitive & social development advantages from the self-directed learning that the Montessori Method encourages. Children in Montessori preschool environments do better in language & mathematics, problem solving, spatial reasoning, and other traditional academic areas - as well as having better social skills, conflict resolution abilities, and leadership qualities. Here are just a few of the benefits you'll find from Montessori preschool education:

Improved Language Skills

Montessori language education begins with phonics, which is a reading method that allows a child to learn the sounds of letters by developing an understanding of how these sounds are used individually, in groups and whole words. Montessori preschools teach the alphabet, but also help children to succeed in using letters together by using phonics to help children learn and identify the sounds. This is only one of the many innovative approaches to language skills that the Montessori Method embraces to help children develop better language fluency over their peers in traditional preschool environments.

Improved Mathematics Skills

In a Montessori preschool, you'll find an array of blocks, beads, and other learning materials designed to help children learn the fundamentals of mathematics. Children use a number board to develop the skill of learning to count to one hundred, and using strings of beads from the decanomial box lets them easily internalize the difference between numbers. Like all Montessori preschool materials, the focus is not simply on rote memorization, but on a self-directed approach to math that's both fun and highly educational.

Improved Spatial Reasoning

The hands-on approach to manipulating blocks, solving puzzles, and other activities you'll find in a Montessori preschool contributes to good hand-eye coordination as well as building the foundations for strong spatial reasoning skills. For instance, the geography puzzles used not only help teach children about the continents and land-masses, but help them to learn how to fit together into the outline of the globe - and do it in a self-correcting manner that lets the child identify for themselves if they've made a mistake.

Better Practical Life Skills

Children are introduced to a collection of Practical Life skills in a Montessori Preschool to help them develop coordination, improve concentration, master basic life skills, and become more independent. Practical life activities include a wide variety of simple common tasks such as practicing grace & courtesy, learning how to tie shoes, washing hands & dishes, watering plants, and a variety of arts & crafts activities. Children are not forced to do these activities, but introduced to them, and allowed to master these basic skills on their own over time.

Better Social Skills

Children in a Montessori preschool interact in a mixed-age group setting, allowing them to learn cooperative skills with others, and also participate in mentorship with younger children as they master skills. Unlike a traditional school setting where the teacher dominates the classroom, the Montessori Method stresses freedom to move, interact, and solve problems independently - which naturally encourages relationship building & builds friendships across a diverse group of children.

Introduction To Music

Research has shown that an introduction to music at a young age helps children develop language skills, problem solving, movement coordination and more. Children love to move, dance and enjoy listening music, just like adults - and in a Montessori preschool, music plays an important role in the curriculum. One example of this is the matching bells exercise, which helps children recognize sounds and notes. As they continue to make progress in learning, they may go further to read and write musical notes, as well.

Introduction To Art

Children in a Montessori Preschool are surrounded by art, in the form of craft activities, drawing, and much more. Rich, colorful materials abound - and color, shapes, and different mediums are used to teach many concepts and highlight the difference between various sizes, numbers, and letters. Children are naturally creative, and in the self-directed environment of a Montessori preschool, they're provided with countless opportunities to create preschool artistic masterpieces. Not only is art an important enrichment tool, but the process of creating art is also valuable for developing hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning, and more.

Responsibility and Self-Discipline

In a Montessori preschool, children clean up their own messes, put away their own learning materials, and put on their own coats & shoes. Montessori encourages children to take ownership & responsibility for themselves and the environment around them, which leads to thoughtful, helpful, and more responsible children. Everything about the Montessori Method leads to an awareness of individual responsibility, which originates from the self-directed nature of this educational method and it's focus on children being responsible for their own learning.

Teachers Act As Guides

In a traditional education environment, the teacher stands in front of the class and lectures - but in a Montessori preschool, they act as guides. A guide constantly monitors the activities in the classroom, but doesn't interfere with the individualized, self-directed learning taking place. Instead, they provide mentorship and gentle guidance without exerting control, which helps children to become independent learners and focus on tasks that provide them with the most learning satisfaction.

The Prepared Environment

The key to creating a successful learning experience in a Montessori preschool comes from the prepared environment, which is classroom design concept to facilitate the highest level of independent learning and exploration by the child. All of the educational materials, furniture, shelves and other items in the classroom fit the smaller size of preschool age children, and the classroom has no focal point, allowing children to move from station to station and in a self-directed manner. The prepared environment in a Montessori preschool is one of the key differentiators between this style of learning and traditional education.

Why Choose A Montessori Preschool

Throughout this article, you've seen mention of "self-directed learning", which is one of the biggest benefits of enrolling your child in a Montessori preschool. This educational model stresses agile learning, the ability to focus on tasks without interruption, the concept of self-correction in work, and a focus on moving from the concrete to the abstract over time.

Montessori education is over a century old, but surprisingly aligns perfectly with the latest research into early childhood development, making this Montessori preschools an extension of natural learning methods that work the best for children. The model for learning created by Dr. Montessori is not a production-line that produces bodies for 20th century industrial labor - it is a rich & flexible model of learning that creates agile minds for the diverse challenges of knowledge economy.

It should be no surprise that self-directed and agile learning are both qualities that help provide children with strong foundations for leadership - making Montessori education a platform for producing the great innovators and leaders of tomorrow. The development of the ability to experiment, relate well with  all kinds of people, and to function well in ambiguity and complexity are all attributes which the Montessori method helps to promote and develop in children.

Mindfulness for Kids

Mindfulness is defined as "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique." Think of it as a state of being aware and awake in the mind, which you can achieve by purposefully focusing your attention on the present moment with acceptance and without judging.

I grew up in Thailand, so mindfulness is a part of my traditional culture and upbringing. The word Mindfulness comes from Pali word “Sati” which is called “สติ” in the Thai language, and means awareness, attention and remembering. It can't be understood by simply looking at image of the Buddha practicing meditation - to cultivate mindfulness, each individual needs to practice it themselves with the knowledge that the more we practice, the deeper and stronger of our ability for mindfulness becomes.

Why Practice Mindfulness

Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, has described how he brought Buddhist meditation to his stress reduction clinic, and how we went about introducing this tool to people from a wide variety of cultures to help them practice mindfulness in their own lives. The people who came to his clinic grew to realize that it wasn’t about stress reduction, but actually a tool for living, and that by achieving awareness and acceptance in their mindfulness practice, the reduction in stress would follow.

Mindfulness is such a powerful tool to have. It is so fascinating to know that the evidence from scientific studies is validating what people who meditate have long suspected, that training the mind changes the brain. The changes that occur in the brain when we are emotionally attuned to our own internal states in meditation seem to correlate with those brain areas that are active when we are feeling connected to others. When we practice mindfulness we also increase the compassion, and lovingkindness toward ourselves.

The benefits of mindfulness originate with the story of the Buddha himself. In our world, we are surrounded by many attachments to impermanence, which can cause possessive habits and can be difficult to detach ourselves from. Buddha made a conscious decision to detach from these things and seek a more meaningful life. It took him many years of practice, meditation and introspection to achieve this, but when he learned how to detach, his pain was gone. He had found a valuable tool within the mind for mental & emotional wellbeing, and shared this valuable gift of wisdom with others.

Thousands of years have passed since the Buddha achieved enlightenment, but the lessons he shared continue to change the world - and in the modern era, filled with stress, distractions & external demands, I believe his words are more valuable than ever. In Sanskrit writings about the nature of universal truth, it is written that Buddha said ผู้ใดเห็นธรรมผู้นั้นเห็นเรา, which means, “One who sees the Dhamma sees me; one who sees me sees the Dhamma.” In other words, enlightenment is not simply a practice you do; it is a state of being which you achieve - and it can begin with the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness for Kids

Mindfulness for kids is achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment, and works well in a Montessori preschool learning environment. After I got certified in mindfulness for kids, I started working on it with my own daughter, Sara. She was born in America, and mindfulness is not a traditional part of this culture - so the initial challenge that I faced was that she didn't understand the importance of meditation, for her it is only something that "Mommy does". My goal was not to make her a Buddhist, but simply to share the power of mindfulness with her, so I tried to be patient & open with her about the practice, and introduce her to it without having expectations.

I explained to her about the experience that she had from the past and I used to have from the past when we deal with negative emotions; angers, sadness, frustration, discomfort and the positive emotions; happiness, joy, compassion, empathy, peace, calmness. I let her shar her thoughts and experiences from her past. She then started to get involved in it. She expressed herself openly and was curious to learn more about the mindfulness.

Then I chose to do mindful breathing and mindful listening with her. The challenging thing was she could not be still at first. It was her body that wanted to resist what we were trying to do. The first and the second practices didn’t give her much. She could not focus.The third times, we tried she finally settled. The result was that she felt relaxed and sleepy. She observed noises around her. She said that she could hear the birds sing, people talking on the street, the cars and the wind.

Sara had a good mindful experience, and when I described to to the parents of children at my preschool, they got excited. They urged me to practice mindful breathing and listening with their children as well. I used what I had learned working with Sara, and let the preschool children take turns sharing what they heard while listening to sounds with their eyes closed or gazing down. Some said they heard the sound of the birds, people talking, a lawn mower, a clock ticking, and a car driving by. We put hands to our stomachs, our hearts and our noses, and practiced being mindful of our bodies.

Preschool age children are very young, and their energy & enthusiasm for life makes it challenging to simply be still. Some children did well, and a few struggled to stay still, so I let them be natural and didn’t expect that it would be perfect. We practiced mindful movement such as blowing flowers and pretending blowing balloons while moving our arms up and down. Overall, it was a good experience - they did great, and our exercise went very well.

Mindfulness for Kids and the Montessori Method

Dr. Maria Montessori never used the word mindfulness in her writing, but she often spoke of a deep connection between the body and mind. She wrote, “The essential thing is to arouse such an interest that it engages the child’s whole personality”, and she spoke about the intense focus present during Montessori learning, where children turn their attention to a single learning task with the exclusion of everything else.

The long, uninterrupted periods of Montessori work time are wonderful opportunities for children to naturally be mindful of themselves and the task they are focused on. As children are learning is perhaps the most important. It is within this timeframe that the mindful, deep concentration can occur. During the work time, the child is able to experience many freedoms, such as freedom of movement and freedom of choice, which help foster confidence and happiness. Renowned Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studies what brings people happiness and the study of “flow” as a form of mindfulness. He has concluded, “Montessori schools are ahead in the area of figuring out what makes life meaningful, in creating the conditions for ‘flow’, because children can choose their own work, can concentrate without being interrupted, and they can work on their own at their own speed, and thus progress naturally improving their skills”.

The prepared environment in a Montessori preschool is specifically designed to foster inner calm and focus. The environment is simple, orderly, and invites kids to learn and grow. The sensorial materials are designed to enhance a child’s awareness of their senses, and the grace and courtesy lessons promote the importance of mindful for kids in a group setting by using soft voices and treating others and the environment with care and respect. Walking on the line, walking around mats, cleaning, and placing materials with care and order all require a thoughtful, mindful approach to learning, and careful concentration. Montessori even incorporate exercises like the silence game, which give children the opportunity to focus on their breathing and practice aware self-reflection. The Montessori method, in other words, promotes mindfulness for kids.

The Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids

There are many reasons why mindfulness is beneficial for kids, and the benefits are diverse - including physical, emotional, psychological and relationships. Some of the many benefits of mindfulness for kids include:

  • better concentration, focus, and attention-spans
  • more self-control, including better impulse-control
  • increased self-esteem and self-confidence
  • more empathy, kindness, patience and compassion for others
  • an increase in self-directed motivation
  • increased feelings of inner calm & peace
  • less emotional anxiety & physical stress
  • better & more restful sleep
  • relief from stiffness & muscle tension
  • lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • reduced agitation and irritability

As you learn more about mindfulness for kids, you'll notice the the similarities between the practice of mindfulness and the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori. This is yet another example of the forward-thinking nature of Maria Montessori's work, that her teaching method would not only be relevant a century after she created it, but would in fact be incorporating methods of instruction similar to far-Eastern philosophy that are only now being accepted in Western education.

Dr. Montessori’s innovative approach still benefits today’s children, and it's likely that the principles embodied in the Montessori Method will continue to help children achieve success for generations to come. New theories in child development and early childhood education will continue to arrive, but the time-tested principles and built-in philosophy of mindfulness for kids in the Montessori method have proven to be timeless. In is startling how accurate & prescient Dr. Montessori was, especially in her descriptions of the mind/body connection in young children.

The philosophy of the Montessori method is holistic in nature, and includes physical, mental, and emotional components. In Montessori preschools, children work in a self-directed manner to choose activities that are relevant to them, and are allowed to move about the school freely as they interact with their environment. Kids can spend as much time on each activity as they want, and often work with older and younger children in pairs and group activities. Montessori preschools mimic the mixed-age nature of the family, which provides children with familiarity, bolsters self-confidence, and helps them follow their inner sense of motivation. The Montessori learning environment bolsters kids' self-esteem and produces well-rounded individuals.

Young children usually are known for very short term concentration. On the contrary, these kids are usually expected to leap from one activity to another within short time span. That's why, parents and teachers are surprised when they see their kids learning happy engaged, focused and working independently in tandem with the Discount Montessori material.

How Kids Practice Mindfulness

Over the last few years, mindfulness has become more popular in Western culture, and as adults recognize the many benefits of it, they naturally hope to share those benefits with their children. Many organization teaching mindfulness for kids now exist, and all of them share the goal of helping kids become become motivated, focused and intentional students in the classroom.

While all of these organizations deserve recognition for helping educate kids on the benefits of mindfulness, we shouldn't forget that Dr. Maria Montessori was an advocate for the same principles of mindfulness over a century ago, and the Montessori method has been helping kids practice mindfulness for a much longer period of time. Her methods were designed to intensify concentration, heighten internal motivation, and sustaining focus in the early learning environment.

Some of the most common needs for children are paying attention, planning & time-management, concentration and organizational skills. These abilities are associated with being mindful, and Montessori education puts an emphasis on developing these  traits to make learning an easier, healthier and more enjoyable experience for kids. In a world that is full of chaotic distractions, teachers can rely on the Montessori method to help children avoid distractions and channel their inner creative and psychic energy to become better learners.

The Montessori method has been proven to stimulate deep concentration and cognitive development, as well as helping develop coordination and motor control. When children begin Montessori preschool education at around age 3 or 4, they worked on developing motor skills such as polishing, pouring, organizing, and sweeping. These are Practical Life skills, and they help children learn exactly that - how to function & complete basic life tasks in day to day life.

Montessori preschool activities such as washing dishes and wiping tables help to further develop manners and motor skills - but like the Practical Life skills, these tasks all facilitate mindfulness for kids, along with helping to develop cognitive and reasoning abilities in early learners. These skills help prepare kids for mindful lives by improving focus and concentration, in addition to the feelings of achievement from mastering new skills, social development from working in groups and sharing material, and learning in a participatory manner that fosters mindful living.

Children in Montessori preschools already practice a form of mindfulness, so when mindfulness for kids is introduced by parents, teachers & mentors it is absorbed and internalized more easily, and meshes well with an established learning style that children already practice. This synergy between mindfulness and the Montessori method reinforces the benefits of both practices, and helps further prepare kids for success in school and beyond.

The Montessori Sensitive Periods

In Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, Dr. Montessori states “Children pass through definite periods in which they reveal psychic aptitudes and possibilities which afterwards disappear. That is why, at particular epochs of their life, they reveal an intense and extraordinary interest in certain objects and exercises, which one might look for in vain at a larger age. During such a period the child is endowed with a special sensibility which urges him to focus his attention on certain aspects of his environment to the exclusion of others. Such attention is not the result of mere curiosity; it is more like a burning passion.” (E.M. Standing, pg. 120)

What are the Montessori Sensitive Periods?

In the study of child development, sensitive periods are stages of development where children are more responsive to stimuli and capable of faster mental growth and quicker to learn new skills. As the child grows & develops, they pass through successive phases of development which demand different environments and types of help. The earlier years are the most important - the sensitive periods of infants to six year olds will not be matched by later stages because is a period of self–formation. During sensitive periods, the child works for his own internal satisfaction, which is different from adults who work to achieve satisfaction from external goals.

Montessori observed the sensitive periods of a little four year old girl who worked with the cylinder blocks. The girl focused on working on the blocks and completed on her lesson for forty four times. The concentration of the children working in their sensitive periods is very important, we would never interfere the children when they are concentrating and working in the sensitive periods. We should observe and provide appropriate material for the children when we see their sensitive periods occur for the children can develop the specific skills.

The sensitive periods are impermanent, therefore, we are now aware of the wonderful presents that the children use to develop themselves, satisfy themselves and guide them to their own directions. A sensitive period is an extraordinary sensibility that gained in the infantile state. The particular trait that a child concentrating on is limited and temporary. Once the children gained the satisfaction, the sensibility to particular trait will disappear. The length of the sensitive periods can be short in just a few days or week or long for months or years. They start to work up to a high point and start to decrease after.

The phrase “sensitive periods in development” and the sensibility of little caterpillars

A famous Dutch biologist names Hugo de Vries was the first person who used the phrase “sensitive periods in development”. Later Maria Montessori used it for human development. Truthfully we can say that Montessori’s whole system, theory and practice has a foundation of biology in it. According to the sample of life cycle of a butterfly (Porthesia), when tiny caterpillars come out of their eggs, their mouths are fragile and small that the youngest and most tender leaves are the only thing they can eat. The biologist, de Vries found that the early hatched larvae have a remarkable sensibility towards light. The newly larvae move forward to the tips of branches and eat the youngest and most tender leaves. When the caterpillar have developed themselves bigger and bigger, their jaws are stronger, they gradually lose their sensibility to light. As such result they start to go find food in different area of the tree.

During the growth of specific organisms there come special sensibility periods which are impermanent. The periods of special sensibility help the organism to get specific functions or determined characteristics. When the organisms have achieved the goal of these periods, the special sensibility lessens and replaced by another. The remarkable thing of development during a sensitive period is an unable to resist impulse incites the organism to choose only certain elements in its environment just as long as the sensibility is appeared.

Maria Montessori's Quotes in the Sensitive Periods

In the Secret of Childhood page 252, Montessori also compares a sensitive period to a flame that burns luminously but does not exhaust. Montessori says “Such instincts are not so much reactions to the environment as delicate inner sensibilities, intrinsic to life-just as pure thought is an entirely intrinsic quality of mind. We might continue to the comparison and look on them as divine thoughts working in the inmost center of living creatures, leading them subsequently to action on the outer world in realization of the divine plan.”

  • A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. : He is physically adjusting himself to living in this world and he is gaining new skills that are real neurological developments.
  • These are like a beam that lights interiorly or a battery that furnishes energy. : The sensitive periods are like the light that shines through a child’s soul, or the battery that provides energy.
  • It is this sensibility which enables a child to come into contact with the eternal world in a particularly intense manner. At such a time everything is easy; all is life and enthusiasm. Every effort marks an increase in power. : The sensitive periods allow a child to be involved with the endlessly world in deep concentrated manner.
  • When one of this psychic passions is exhausted, another is enkindled. : The fire of passion and concentration in the sensitive periods is used for a certain task when it completed, another task is ignited.
  • Childhood thus passes from conquest to conquest in a constant rhythm that constitutes its joy and happiness. It is within this fair fire of the soul, which burns without consuming, that the creative work of man’s spiritual world is brought to completion. : From the process of being born through becoming a child, the fire that lights up without exhausting in a child’s soul and his spirit created him to become a completely unique individual person.

For the child who his sensitive periods have been blocked or ignore his skill that he is working on might not be strong and as best. Dr. Montessori states “If during his sensitive stage a child is confronted with an obstacle to his toil, he suffers a disturbance or even warping of his being, a spiritual martyrdom that is still too little known, but whose scars are borne unconsciously by most adults.”

The Brain and Sensitive Periods

Currently, scientists understand that the sensitive periods are neurological based. The brain nerve cells of the child form powerful connection while she is working in her sensitive periods. The sensitive periods are controlled largely by cycles of development in the brain.

Inside a newborn baby’s brain contains over 100 billion neurons which grows rapidly in just a second during the pregnancy. Neurons start to improve and develop their communications. There are many neurons in the brain that forms connections and they become stronger. The neurons connections develop and grow stronger through use. When the children have enriched environment of loving personal interaction with lots of touch and language, colorful objects, music and sounds, interesting textures and other stimulation ---more connection of neurons will be formed. And if the children continue to have these experiences and new dimensions are added ---the neural structure will be enhanced.

Dr. Martha Pierson, neurologist at Baylor College of Medicine states “Children need a flood of information, a banquet a feast for the brain. This early stimulation or “education” if you will, shapes the brain’s neural architecture. Varied, early exposure is thought to assist the child to develop the processing capability that will provide the opportunity to handle multiple tasks later in life.”

Not enough stimulation can bore the child and her brain. Too much stimulation can put pressure on the child and she may shut down. Well preparing and balancing the enriched environment in the Montessori classroom for the children to choose and the works that meet their needs are important.

When children have stress, fearful, or anxiety, the teacher must help them feel calm, and safe physically, emotionally and spiritually. We should prepare a safe, peaceful and harmony environment in the classroom that nurture children’s hearts so we can help them to life. While we are helping the children in their sensitive periods, we should provide the age appropriate works and materials to help them achieve their inner goals.

Sensitive periods have two types, one calls Critical windows, in order for some skill to be formed, the brain requires certain particular types of input during the critical windows of development. If the brain doesn’t receive the input during this time, the development will never happen.

For example, human vision and speech. The second type is sensitive periods which most of sensitive periods that Montessori observed are in this category. Children develop natural interest in particular behaviors that last long adequate amount to develop their specific skills. The child will eventually develop his skill even though he doesn’t find the right environment stimulation but not as smooth, perfectly and not as easy. For example, holding pencil, mastering sensorial skills such as grading sizes or musical tones.

Major sensitive periods in two and a half to six year old children

In sensitive periods as mental necessities, it is our obligation to fulfill the child’s need for their development.

Sensitive periods for language

Speaking language in earlier year, one of the earliest and long lasting work of sensitive periods is language. The sounds of native tongue is set up by the first birthday. There is a study at University of Washington by Patricia Kuhl who worked with newborn babies and documented that the babies respond to specific sounds in their own languages. Kuhl compares children brains to forming magnets that all the sounds around them are swept in the brains. Not animal or mechanical sounds but human voice that the child interest during this period of infancy. The child starts to coo, babble, say first words, leading to sentences and full blown language. That is why we need to communicate with our children to help them with their language stimulation.

  • Children who parents speak to them since they are in the womb become more verbal.
  • In the first two to three years of life, the child constructs the mother tongue.
  • The two and a half to six year old period comes the vocabulary developing.
  • From age three and a half to five and a half, children have sensorial interest in tracing letters and matching letter with a similar sound, building words, writing and reading.
  • Later from age 7-9 years old, children enter a sensitive period for grammar, word functions and simple usage.

Sensitive periods for order age 6 months and 3 years.

Order begins in the first year and has the high peak in the third year. In The Secret of Childhood, Montessori explains that the need for order comes from the truth that the child is constructing himself and needs external order to rely on during the work. In this period the child is ordering his mental scheme for the world. The child has a passion and interesting in ordering things, places and times. For example, greeting, breakfast time, reading story time, bath time, putting things in the same area. Ordering help comforting the child the same as adult. The child needs order and stability in the environment for him to be able to construct himself.

Playing hide and seek (at the same place for little kids) or bringing them for a walk at the same route are ones of the great activities to help children develop their minds and help secure and ensure them that things or person will be there at the same place and time. Allow the children to enjoy and take in and process the impressions by slowing down the beat and the physical movement.

There are two forms of sensitivity of order, one is the external environment and the other is the internal order which involves with physical orientation. For example, staying in a hotel room, strange place, strange bed, different smell. The child can be upset because of the new change of the environment and may feel out of his comfort zone. Parents need to comfort the child such as bring his own favorite stuffy toy, blankets, reading story and giving him meals at the same schedule just like home. At a daycare, if the classroom doesn’t have things in order, it can be very chaotic. Little children happy to see things in places and want to work at restoring and maintaining order. For a hundred year, Montessori schools around the world always have and prepare the same environment and order in the classrooms.

Sensitive periods for movement from birth to four year old

For babies, we prepare environment of safety so we can offer freedom of movement for them. Developing the brain is an active activity. The children have a commanding need to interact with stimuli as the brain searches to maintain unity and integrity by continuously integrating new information. It increases the remarkable and relevance of every learning experience.

Refinement and control of movement from age 14 months to four years.

The sensitive period for control and refinement of movement is most powerful from fourteen months to four years. At the beginning of this period, a child has already developed his gross motor skills. The continuing development of the cerebellum and motor cortex facilitate the child’s enhance in his fine motor skills. The activity such as working with the knobs on the cylinders block, using tongs pick up colorful balls and drop them to a tray are the works that help the child on fine muscle control. It’s allow the child to use his muscle, eyes, hands coordination and thinking skill as well as having a joy of the work.

Precision and Interest in small objects from age 1 to 3 years

Montessori understands that base on her observation children truly like precision. We can provide precision in the handling equipment. In the same manner, we show grace and courtesy and other simple refinement of polite movement during this period of time. For example, opening and closing the door, eating correctly, using materials carefully and gently, etc.
When children have the control of their movement, it affects their whole personalities. It also build up their confident, it helps them with concentration and it gives them contentment.

Interest in small objects 1-3 years

About a year a year and a half, children go through a sensitive period for tiny things and objects. Small objects are the bigger challenge to the child who is getting small motor control, thus his inner interest. It relates to the refinement and control of movement. In The Secret of Childhood, Montessori mentioned that early young children would point at tiny little things that we adult couldn’t even notice.

Special epoch for sensation from age two and a half to 6 years

From age two and a half to the later stages of absorbent mind, the child show the concentration of interest in sensorial impressions, the sensitivity includes the refinement of these senses. The activities that help developing the children are such as working with rough and smooth surfaces, tracing shapes and geometry. Dr. Maria names this specific ages the “special epoch for sensation.”

Math patterns from birth to 4 years

The brain has sensitive period from birth to four years for setting patterns which will help in developing children lifelong mathematical ability.

At toddler age, if a child gets introduced to simple math concepts, he will do better in math later. The more children are introduced to math, the more they become adaptive in thinking mathematically.

Math from age three and a half to 7 years

Montessori school offer math presentations after the child has established the ability to focus and follow basic orderly procedures, and after completing sensorial materials that prepare for the math materials. Once the child enters Montessori school, they tends to interested in using math materials around age 3 ½ -4. Many children who started with math in the Montessori classroom are already doing addition and multiplication (and often subtraction and division) with concrete material before they go to first grade. Many of them possess several math facts ex. partially or to fully memorized addition and multiplication tables.
Children are at their peak for learning patterns at age four. Dr. Maria designed the decimal system material for first graders, she thought it was an appropriate age for learning the hierarchy of numbers and place value. Turned out that the first graders were interested minimally but the four to five years old love it and find it easy memorize math facts through the absorbent mind. There was a research in 1992 from Dr. John Chattin-McNichols states that children who had only one year of preschool in Montessori do better than their counterparts in math as late as age fifteen. The Montessori material concept along with the experience of success in mathematics at an early age provide a sense of confidence and self-identity in children as mathematicians.

Music from age 3 to 7 years

There’s a research of Frances and Gordon Shaw of UC, Irvine states a group of three year olds score 80% higher than their peers in spatial reasoning after just eight months of piano and chorus. The neural circuits for math are closely aligned with those for music. Children exposed to music before the age of seven actually develop a physically larger part of the brain called the planum temporale. Those who began their musical exposure after age seven did not develop it.

Sensitive periods for learning to pay attention 3-6

There’s a study shows that children who grow up without structure do not learn to focus their attention properly in their day to day basic. According to the study, the crucial time for learning to pay attention is between the ages of three and six years. During the same period of about 2 ½ -3 through 6 years, the child has met a measure of stability in his physical and emotional growth. He is ready to start to pay attention to his social environment as well as physical environment. The attention and creation of mental order and expectations will help the child feel safe and behave appropriately in the new environment.

Emotional control, development and the love of children

From beginning at birth through two years, there many sensitive periods. There is a cluster of cells in the prefrontal cortex that during this time, it links to the emotional area of the brain. The connection obviously gives a type of control switch, where excitement can calm down through reason. Parents who gently comfort their crying infant versus ignoring them in their cribs are teaching the skill of self-calming. The portion of the brain which regulates emotions, also influences cognitive ability. Clinical observations show that children understand emotional relationships far sooner than they can distinguish physical relationships. The most important things for teachers and parents is loving our children.

Montessori Education During Sensitive Periods

Teachers who are working with children in Montessori school need to understand the materials themselves as well as the children sensitive periods and their inner needs. The understanding comes through practice with material and meditation on what each material gives to the child. It comes through observation of individual child. Children can’t tell us what they need but we can observe and offer what we think they may ready for then move forward.

Teachers must allow independent choices, repetition, and completion of cycles. We may not interrupt them when they are concentrating on their works during the sensitive periods. Always respect their choices and let go of the control. Although teachers have no control over the emotional climate the children experiences at home, but we can create and prepare loving and kindness environment that can be a powerful force for good in the life of our children.

Montessori Practical Life Skills

Practical life skills and activities are common tasks & chores that we undertake on a daily basis, which provides young children with exposure to them at a very early age. Work in the kitchen, backyard, and garden are all practical life skills, and by doing these activities preschool children not only satisfy their need to emulate adult behavior, but also develop physical coordination and control of movement. In the preschool setting, these domestic activities also help children to feel comfortable, and ease their adjustment to the preschool setting. This encourages normalization and helps provide a calm learning environment.

What are Montessori Practical Life Skills?

Montessori Practical Life skills consist of a diverse group of activities to help preschool children develop coordination, improve concentration, master basic life skills, and become more independent and self-motivated. Practical life activities include a wide variety of simple common tasks such as practicing grace & courtesy, learning how to tie shoes, washing hands & dishes, watering plants, and a variety of arts & crafts activities.

Over a hundred years of experience has shown that there are specific activities that have universal appeal to preschool-age children. This is how the activities of Practical Life were selected, and why Practical Life skills still remain on the list of basic Montessori lessons. In Practical Life, we will provide children a wide array of choices, materials, and activities that are attractive and meet the child’s cognitive and emotional needs. By providing practical life skills to the child, the child will gain self-control, self-confidence, concentration, and will learn to control their movement and motor coordination. Finally, the child will become independent and reach their inner goal of being able to complete daily activities on their own. As teachers and parents, that allows us to reach our ultimate goal of helping children to develop true practical life skills.

In Dr. Maria Montessori’s own handbook, she tells us how important and valuable of the practical life toward the child. She states “The education of the movements is very complex, as it must correspond to all the coordinated movements, the child has to establish in his physiological organism. The child if left without guidance, is disorderly in his movements and this orderly movements are the special characteristic of the little child. In fact, he never keeps still and touches everything.” She also mentions “As a matter of fact, in these movements the little child is seeking the very exercise which will organize and coordinate the movements useful to man. We must, therefore desist from attempt to reduce the child to immobility. We should rather give order to his movements leading them to those actions towards which his efforts are actually tending. This is the aim of muscular education at this age.”

Dr. Montessori states the wonderful results of giving the child practical life activities “Once a direction is given to them, the child’s movement are made towards a definite aim to that he himself grows quiet and contented and becomes an active worker, a being calm and full of joy. The education of the movements is one of the principle factors in producing that outward appearance of 'discipline' to be found in the Children’s Houses.”

Mind in the Making

In the video Mind in the Making, Dr. Elizabeth Caspari explains that children love to touch and physically interact with things. By providing concrete objects, materials and activities to children, they get to use the sense of touch, and in fact they can use all five of their senses to work with activities and develop their own abilities. Dr. Caspari also mentions not to disturb the environment of the children because it disrupts the child’s sense of order, precision and emotion. That is why the concept of the ordered Montessori school environment (such as shelves, practical life’s main activities) is the same in every part of the world, but still remains adaptable to different cultures.

Values & Goals of Practical Life Skills

Brain, nerves and muscles are all used by children to control physically movement - when used together, this is what coordination is. At first, children have to visualize in their minds what they are going to learn and do, and then they attempt to do it physically. That is the reason that we give the lesson to one child at a time with the intense of attention to detail and exactness. The teacher will keep practicing the lesson, go through materials step by step until they are confident with the teaching process, and then the teacher will demonstrate the practical life task to the children carefully, correctly, and with analysis movement (moving slowly and pausing after each movement). That way, the child will be able to watch all of the details and follow the lesson correctly.

In the video, Motor Education through Practical Life (Part 2), Mary Ellen Maunz explains the goal of teaching children lessons is not simply to give them an assignment. We do not expect them to do the work right away. We show them how to do things in practical life lesson that way when the child senses the need for learning, the child can come back and work on it independently after seeing the teacher demonstrate the lesson.

The Goals of Practical Life OCCI

Helping the individual child to develop his own internal order, coordination & control of movement, concentration and independent are the goals of Practical Life. We called OCCI:

  • Order – The child develops the internal order and learns the sequences when working with materials from simple step of activities to complex steps of activities which will help him become more advance in mathematics and language activities.
  • Coordination and control of movement – The child works with an activities such as building the pink towel as the first simple step and from exercising a simple step, he gradually becomes fluent and soon he can be able to work on more complicated work such as making his own Q-tips from a cotton balls to do plant shining.
  • Concentration – Concentration brings children to the stage of normalization, the calming and centering of the child. The child is obviously concentrated and getting so deep and intense to the chosen work. It looks like he is in his own world even though he is surround by other friends in the classroom. By selecting his own work without any force from teacher or anybody, we can see the look of joy and confident through the eyes of the child.
  • Independence – We help the child to be able to do it by herself or himself which will bring the children to the stage of confident, independent, joy and feeling proud of himself and herself.

Preparing Practical Life Lessons

Practical Life lessons are not assignments for the child. Think of them as an invitation, each one being a new activity that the child can select.

  • The lessons should be ages appropriate.
  • Provide attractive materials, matching colors
  • The purpose of the lesson for the children – what they will learn and what they will receive after learning or working on the activities.
  • Safety materials for children
  • The simple, analysis movement, being graceful, quiet and slowing down will be required while showing children the lessons.

Practical Life Skills Are Comprised Of

  • Primary movement of everyday life - such as pouring water from small pitcher to another, along with activities such as: handling materials, walking, sitting, pouring water, pouring rice, picking up small objects with tweezers of tongs, making juices, preparing snacks for themselves and their friends.
  • Care of the environment - Activities such as: plant shining, plant watering, washing dishes, sweeping, using cleaning tools to clean table, cleaning the classroom, metal polishing.
  • Care of the person - Activities such as: washing hands, brushing teeth, combing hair, shoe polishing, dressing up with buttons or zippers.
  • Gardening - Activities such as planting, pulling weeds, harvesting, using tools of gardening.
  • Gymnastic exercises - Activities such as rhythmic activities, walking the lines, singing, dancing, balancing themselves by using bells or holding a tray of cup filled with water while walking on the line.
  • Line work - This is a classic example of Montessori creative coordination and control of movement activity that help children’s internal and external development.

In the case of line work, children need to practice the perfect movement of their body, and learn to consolidate their body movements - for example, by walking on the lines of sidewalks and trying to balance themselves. Dr. Montessori used this line walking exercise to help children control their bodies, develop balance and perfect equilibrium. It gives children a chance to strengthen the control of their minds and movements. There are variety of activities during walking on the line activities.

Walking on the line additionally gives children the opportunity to socialize with their friends after concentrating on their skill mastery. They get to exercise with their bodies, interact with their friends, and practice their ability to balance while listening to music. This Practical Life skill also incorporates some challenging movements such as walking heel to toe, hopping, carrying a tray filled with water while balancing themselves on the line or carrying a flag or bells without waving or making noise. The area used for this activity should be open and clear from obstacles for the safety of the children.

A Basic Lesson In Pouring Water

  1. The teacher prepares and practices with materials.
  2. The teacher invites the child to watch the lesson, and gently explains is about before presenting it.
  3. While demonstrating the activity of pouring water, the teacher remains silent, practices graceful movement, and pauses or slows down when necessary for the child to be able to watch and follow the lesson.
  4. The teacher places a tray in front of the child, and positions their right hand over the handle of the right pitcher. They curve their fingers and grasp the pitcher, then slowly lift the left pitcher up a few inches off the tray. Then, gently move the pitcher in your right hand into position over the left pitcher, and finally tip to pour.
  5. Listen and watch as water pours into second pitcher. Turn the pitcher upright. Move it back into position over the tray. Place both pitchers down onto the tray. Release your grasp. Use little cloth to clean up if there’s any drip on the tray.

Grace and Courtesy

Teacher shows children by performing gracefully, kindly and politely in the classroom. When the teacher observes a child in acting unkindly to a Practical Life material, the teacher should take a mental note and make sure to show the children how to handle material correctly and kindly later, during circle-time. For example, the teacher will show the children how to roll the rug and how to walk around the rug and handle the rug gently and respectfully to the material. Then they will invite children to participate, including the children who was misusing the material, without blaming or embarrassing the child.

Teaching grace and courtesy are the process of setting up the classroom rules and the children after learning the lesson, they gradually learn how to be graceful and use courtesy in their classroom. All lesson doesn’t need to be taught on the first day of school but we can choose a few of them every day to establish our classroom ground rules.

Example of grace and courtesy activities such as getting children's attention by ringing the bells and children stand up still quietly, getting teacher attention by waiting patiently in the line for teacher to talk to, practice raising hands to take a turn when a child wants to speak, greeting and shaking hands with teacher, friends and adults, walking around mats and objects in the classroom, closing the bathroom door when using it, carrying material carefully and gently.

Grace and courtesy are the important parts of our society and in everyday life. Montessori schools set the standard and reinforce grace and courtesy every day in the classroom so children have the opportunity to learn how to behave and how to socialize in the society. This is one of the important ways that Montessori Practical Life skills prepares children to grow into graceful adults and become good members of society.

Montessori Vs. Traditional Preschool Education

One of the biggest questions the parents of toddlers face involves preschool. Most people are aware that it's difficult for many children to adjust to being out of the home during the day - but it's easy to forget that there is a large adjustment for parents as well. Along with uncertainties about having your children physically not present during the day, another concern is about the quality of education & socialization they receive in preschool.

The early years of life that Maria Montessori called "the absorbent mind" period, from birth to 6 years old, are incredibly important to establishing the foundations of knowledge and personality that will last a lifetime. As your child enters preschool, for the first time they will be repeatedly exposed to influences outside of your control, without you being present. Did you make the right choice in picking a preschool program?

In the past, preschool programs were often conflated with daycare programs, and involved essentially "warehousing" children while parents are at work. This industrial-age model for childcare was accepted for years, but a transition from the production-line mentality of the 20th century to the knowledge-worker mindset of the 21st has led to demand for higher quality education for children.

Montessori is one such form of education, and in preschools that embrace the Montessori Method, the child participates in a self-directed environment of growth, learning & socialization in an environment specially prepared to foster achievement. If you are among the many parents seeking a better approach to preparing your child for maximum success as an adult, then a Montessori preschool is definitely an option worth considering closely.

You've likely heard that Montessori preschools have advantages vs traditional preschool programs, but to help you understand what makes this approach to learning superior, let's go through some key points that explain why Montessori preschool education is better than a traditional preschool program:

Why Choose Montessori Vs. Traditional Preschool?

1. Self-Directed Learning

Traditional preschools rely on discipline & direction, where Montessori-based preschools allow students to move around freely and choose which activities to focus their attention on. This approach to self-directed learning is a cornerstone of the Montessori philosophy, which inspires children to engage deeply in learning by giving them the freedom to choose. This is different than traditional preschool programs, where teachers typically decide which activity the child will engage in, how they will participate in it, and how success should be measured.

The self-directed nature of Montessori education is guided by teachers, but also by what is called the "Prepared Environment", which features a variety of sets of easily-understand objects that encourage the easy grasping of concepts like color, shape, texture and dimensions and other academic concepts of literature, math, and science. Children learn with these materials in a hands-on manner, and Montessori materials are designed to encourage self-correction of errors.

2. Mixed Age Classrooms

An underlying concept of the Montessori system is the mixed age group classifications, which is modeled after the mixed ages in typical families. Typical Montessori classrooms have children aged 3 to 6 years, and one of the benefits of this is that older children are given the opportunity to be supportive, caring leaders in skills mastery. As older children work to master progressively more complex skills, they also share their expertise with younger ones.

In a Montessori preschool, working with peers is strong encouraged, which helps children develop strong social skills and positive peer-level relationships built on collaboration & cooperation. This allows children to form strong social bonds and learn how to effectively collaborate to share knowledge and solve problems rather than competing for rewards.

3. Teachers As Guides

One of the most important differences between a Montessori school and one using traditional teaching techniques is the role that the teacher plays in the classroom. In a more traditional setting, the teacher stands at the head of the class, direction attention from subject to subject based on a rigid time-schedule based on a lesson plan for each day.

At a Montessori preschool, the teachers act more as a guides to the learning process rather than directors exerting control. Students are able to freely move from between various projects in the classroom, choosing what they want to study rather than having a lesson plan  imposed on them. This allows the child to decide how much time and attention to give to each particular subject, enabling them to remain focused on each task until complete, instead of attempting to rush through things to stay on schedule. Montessori teachers are also typically against rewards for the completion of tasks.

In a Montessori school, there are no rewards, “time-outs,” sticker charts, or even grades. The Montessori Method is built on encouraging a genuine interest in learning and problem-solving, rather than the traditional Pavlovian approach to motivation. This makes the Montessori school especially helpful for students who don't fit within a certain learning mold, and for parents who want to see their children develop a deeper level of skills mastery & understanding.

4. Proven Curriculum

Traditional preschool education is far from standardized and rarely accredited. In contrast, MACTE-accredited Montessori Education is built on a strong educational philosophy of child development developed by Dr. Maria Montessori and focuses on the four avenues of learning: Practical Life, Sensorial Development, Development of Language, and Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind.

Mastery of the skills in the four learning avenues bolsters self-confidence and develops essential motor skills needed to advance to more complex lessons. Children learn both confidence and competence through these early avenues of learning, and have fun learning and mastering new challenges.

5. Confidence & Self-Esteem

The self-directed nature of the Montessori learning environment helps children develop confidence and self-esteem that exceeds what they typically achieve in a traditional preschool classroom. Teachers, acting as guides, establish rules and expectations for behavior, and children are empowered and take pride in following the rules & achieving subject-matter mastery. Older students assist younger students in learning, which helps create a strong sense of community, and assists the development of positive social skills and group problem solving abilities.

6. Developing a Love of Learning

Since students at a Montessori preschool are encouraged to work at their own pace on projects and activities and projects of their choosing, they're able to focus their attention on the topics that interest them the most. This allows them to build a depth of knowledge in each subject area that is impossible when given strict time-limits and task based work. As they learn and their knowledge and success in skills mastery grows, it also encourages them to develop a love of learning and a desire to continue gaining knowledge, helping them become self-motivated lifelong learners.

The Time For Montessori is Now

As society transitions from the industrial era into the knowledge economy, our needs for early childhood education have changed. Parents have embraced the realization that the Montessori Method's focus on encouraging independence, self-mastery & holistic learning are critical to creating successful students who thrive as lifelong learners.

Through its learning practices, the Montessori Method places emphasis on language, sensory, analytical, and mathematical development which help children succeed not only in school, but also in a wide variety of practical life situations.  Children are provided with learning materials and guided towards activities which will hone their skills and promote their innate curiosity & inquisitiveness.

Unlike the traditional approaches to teaching and learning, Montessori Method acknowledges each child as the different individual, who may have his own individual likes and dislikes, capabilities, potential, and a unique personality of his own. Instead of focusing only on academic performance, the teachers will most importantly learn to focus on providing the children with a nurturing and safe environment, also termed as "a prepared environment" so as to encourage social interaction skills.

For today's parent with concerns about the quality of education & socialization available for young children, Montessori education makes sense, and offers many advantages over traditional preschool education. Montessori is an educational model for the 21st century, which helps turn young inquisitive minds into innovative, successful adults.

Why Choose An Online Preschool

Online preschool has been a growing trend for over a decade, but social distancing concerns and today's work from home requirements have made the benefits of online preschool very clear. With millions of Americans now working from home offices, virtual alternatives for many of the services we take for granted became crucial to continue our daily lives. Early childhood education is no exception - and once parents moved past their initial qualms about the virtual nature of what's traditionally been a hands-on activity, interest in online preschool services soared.

Unlike daycare, which many have described as simply "warehousing" children while their parents are at work, preschool is a social and educational activity, and children continue to learn and grow in online preschool just as they do in a traditional preschool.

Online preschool is a time of discovery of children, where they learn basic skills, make friendships, and develop social skills. During Montessori's period of the absorbent mind, which continues until around age 6, children soak up knowledge and benefit from as much educational and social exposure as they can get. Amity Montessori online preschool provides that enrichment, along with education in the four learning avenues of Montessori education, which include Practical Life, Sensorial Development, the Development of Language, and Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind.

Here are some of the many reasons why you may decide to choose an online preschool:

  1. Safe Learning Environment: Online preschool allows children to learn from the comfort and safety of their homes, which reduces the possible exposure of both the child and family members to medical risk during the pandemic. Families struggling with underlying medical conditions may find more comfort in keeping their young student at home, where they can work closely to ensure the lowest possible risk for their loved ones. Despite the risks of the pandemic and social distancing requirements, children still have educational needs, and enrolling in an online online preschool helps to provide the social & educational benefits of preschool without the medical risk.
  2. Parent Participation: Because your preschooler will be learning from home, parents have more opportunities to work closely with their child and review the online preschool curriculum they are learning, which provides opportunities to assist and reinforce your child's education.
  3. Parent–Teacher Communication: In addition to having more visibility into the lessons being learned, parents will also have better communication with the online preschool teacher. Teachers and parents communicate by phone, email, and in the online classroom - and teachers work closely with parents to make sure each child gets the support needed to learn and be successful in the online preschool environment.
  4. Social Development: Children have opportunities to socialize and build relationships with their peers inside the online preschool virtual classroom, which is an important part of fostering their social growth and emotional development. The parents of preschool age children can also be more selective about the activities their children take part in, which is especially important in today's world.
  5. Flexible Schedule: Online preschool provides parents with the flexibility to spend time in the morning with their children as they work from home. Families are able to more easily adapt to the scheduling demands of today's home-based environment, and parents aren't tied to rigid driving schedules for preschool drop-offs or pickups.
  6. Convenience: Online preschool doesn't require parents to drive their kids to a physical location, which means less time packing lunches or extra clothing, driving to the school and more. This helps parents to stay on track with their own schedules while being reassured that children are getting the education they need.
  7. Better Teachers: Not only can preschool students attend class from anywhere, so can teachers! This means that we're able to find the very best Montessori-trained early childhood educators available to help your children flourish in the online classroom. Unlike traditional preschool, which is very much limited by physical proximity to the school, our online preschool sessions allow us to recruit top-tier professionals from a variety of locations to teach the curriculum and support your preschooler's education.
  8. Lower Cost: Online learning is very cost-effective compared to the traditional preschool education, because the costs of running a brick & mortar school and large staff size aren't a factor. Depending on the school and the program, online preschool programs may cost half the price of on-site preschool, and sometimes cost much less! When children learn from home, parents are relieved from the burden of paying for travel expenses.
  9. Accessibility: Many children are shy about interacting in class or asking questions in a group setting, but this is less of a concern with online education. The platform itself provides enough emotional distance to help children feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves, and chat features allow parents to ask questions quietly during the lesson without disturbing the class. Online learning programs are proven to help children build confidence, which is valuable to help them perform better in the classroom as well as in all other aspects of life.
  10. Complete Curriculum: The subject and course options offered by online preschool's such as Amity Montessori encompasses the full scope of fundamental Montessori learning, as well as providing singing & dancing, children's stories, and even tips on how to make cookies! Children are encouraged to ask questions & participate online, and discuss each day's lesson with the teacher.
  11. Self-Discipline: Online preschool reinforces the Montessori Method by helping children stay disciplined and become self-starters. Interaction with lessons and follow-up projects is done by the child in their home, and presented to the teacher during online class. Self-motivation, responsibility and time management skills too all part of what online preschool begins teaching children at a young age, which will them succeed throughout school, into the workplace and beyond.
  12. Better Lessons: Traditional preschool curriculum is no match for Montessori education, which focuses on self-directed exploratory learning around the four avenues of Montessori learning. While traditional Montessori schools are limited in number and hard to get into, Amity Montessori provides a proven & trusted curriculum created by a MACTE-Certified Montessori staff. One of the biggest benefits of online learning programs is that kids’ get access to the highest quality curriculum available, developed by professionals - which ensures that your child is receiving premium quality preschool education to help them grow and achieve.
  13. Quick lesson delivery: Online learning programs offer quick delivery of lessons. Contrary to traditional classroom teaching method, e-learning lessons start and finish quickly, mostly in a single learning session. The learning time, if compared with classroom based teaching, is reduced to 25%-60%. Students also get a chance to skip topics they do not want to learn, thus making the delivery quicker.

Given the wide array of benefits that online preschool programs offer, it should be no surprise that more & more parents have been making the switch to virtual education. The healthy & safety aspects of online preschool are just one of many advantages that distance learning offers for early childhood education, and with Americans having better access to the internet than ever before, the time is now to consider online preschool.

With wide range of benefits, online learning programs are being appreciated and have become quite popular among students across the globe. However, there still are a large bunch of parents and kids who prefer classroom based traditional teaching methods. In the end, it all comes down to what your kid is comfortable with.

Preschool age children perform well online, and part of the reason for that is the flexibility and adaptability that young minds have. They're better at adapting to new educational scenarios than many adults, and pick up new forms of online communication rapidly. The rapid growth of online programs in early childhood education is more evidence that young children are more capable of tackling complex topics than anyone had guessed.

In an online preschool program, your child has the opportunity to learn, grow and develop social relationships despite the health concerns in today's world. They have the ability to  exercise cognitive skills and develop critical thinking while they learn fundamental lessons about elements such as the four Montessori learning avenues. There's no surprise that given the safety, convenience, cost and other advantages associated with virtual learning that more & more parents are turning to online preschool programs to help nurture their children's education from the safety & comfortability of home.

The Advantages Of Montessori Education

Traditional education has long been accused of being a factory for students, focused on rote memorization & standardized testing. While this may have seemed appropriate during the industrial era, parents are now waking up to the fact that the modern world requires mentally agile self-starters to become successful. Thus, while the Montessori method has been growing for over a century, it is now experiencing a modern renaissance as parents & educators embrace its philosophy of freedom & self-direction for children.

The renewed appeal of Montessori education is the results of new educational goals that today’s parents have for their children, which include educating highly capable people with a strong sense of self-determination and the potential to be productive in both traditional and non-traditional work settings. Montessori education provides children with a structure and framework for success, but encourages them to take action, explore, and master learning without having it forced on them.

Choosing Montessori education for your child has many benefits, and leads to more capable, knowledgeable adults who are more successful - which is explains why so many of today's top innovators originally came from Montessori schools. In short, Montessori education produces lifelong learners who take joy in exploring and understanding the world around them.

Here are a few of many advantages of Montessori Education:

  • Every child is unique: Children all learn in different ways, and that's something that Montessori education embraces. This is embodied in the self-directed nature of the Montessori environment, which provides the flexibility for children to engage thoroughly at their own pace with material before moving on through the curriculum.
  • Montessori education is structured: The design of the Montessori classroom, individual learning stations, and even children's daily routine is all part of a structured environment that children have the freedom to learn within at their own pace. Rather than forcing your child's mind to fit a mold, structure is ingrained into the environment.
  • Children are part of a community: The mixed ages & diversity in the Montessori classroom environment is similar to a family structure, complete with teachers serving in a guiding capacity as role-models & guides. The Montessori community is built on warmth, kindness, acceptance and tolerance.
  • Montessori learning is self-directed: The self-directed environment in a Montessori classroom gives children the freedom to focus on areas they're most engaged with while they work within parameters set by their teachers and staff.
  • Self-correction is part of Montessori education: The design of Montessori learning materials and curriculum naturally supports critical thinking skills and teaches children to review and correct errors in their work.
  • Montessori fosters social skills: The friendly, communicative and close-knit environment in Montessori education fosters better social skills than traditional education, and provides children with better skills for creative problem solving and peaceful conflict resolution as well.

Over one hundred years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori pioneered a new model for education focused on encouraging the natural curiosity and creativity in children. A century later, her legacy lives on - and in the fast-paced, complex and unpredictable world of the 21st century, the skills her educational techniques promote are more valuable to children than ever. Montessori students are confident, enthusiastic, and self-directed - and they become highly successful adults with strong collaborative abilities and critical thinking skills.