Learning Joyfully

One of the biggest concerns parents have (among health, safety, and happiness), is education. No parent wants to see their child fall behind. Further, there is a wonderful exhilarating feeling when your child is succeeding and thriving academically.  However, it is important to Children are playing on green meadowremember what it looks like to truly succeed and thrive academically.  At the age group of 3 to 6 years old (which is the age group I’m writing about here), success is not measured in test scores or grades.  Rather, success is something that means much more. In this age group, successful learning may be more difficult to see (in comparison to older children), but it is just as important.   As shared on Montessori.com:

“Your preschool-aged (and younger) child may appear to benefit from flashcards and                     workbooks as they are storing more information, more rules and more facts. But if this               is how they spend most of their time, then the true value of the earliest years of life has               been underused. This is the time when little human beings build the cognitive                               foundations that last a lifetime. This is when your child learns how to learn, how to                       solve problems, how to think. Additionally, this is the time to begin practicing social                     skills, learning how to deal with emotions, figuring out how to use little finger muscles                 to hold a pencil and how to use bigger leg muscles to climb”. 

Quite simply, if you are building a house and decide to skip straight to framing the walls, your house will fail. The first, and most important, step is to set a strong foundation upon which the rest of the house can be built upon.  How does one want to learn to run if they haven’t yet loved the feeling of wind on their face? How does one truly understand how to play an instrument if they haven’t experienced what it feels like to really hear and feel music first? Further, how does one learn to read if they haven’t had the love for stories instilled in them from the beginning?

That is what learning joyfully means- first we must help our children build the foundation of their learning process. This foundation involves showing them how to actually enjoy learning,  how to seek after knowledge for the love of it, and how to feed their curiosity about the world around them. After that foundation is laid – the rest will all fall into place.

In the 3 to 6 year old (also known as primary) classroom, this process is achieved through a lot of hands-on work. The preschool and kindergarten child learns primarily through how they experience their environment. They are very sensorial – which means that they learn best through using one (or all) of their five senses.  For example, when a young child comes across a worm in the grass, first they get down at eye level and look very carefully at it. Next, they may even attempt to pick it up and see how it feels in their hands. They may gently touch the worm, notice if it feels hot or cold, smooth or rough, as well as “weigh” it by discovering if it’s heavy or light. Some more adventurous children may even smell the worm! This whole process sends a vast amount of information to their brains for storage. They now know what a worm looks like, feels like, and maybe even smells like.  This type of knowledge is not something that can ever be learned from pictures in a book.

In the primary classroom, each of our classroom materials have a purpose (some the children are aware of, and some they are not) that is focused on helping the child lay a foundation for future learning.  One example I like to talk about is our binomial and trinomial cubes (pictured below).  What looks like an interesting cube-shaped puzzle, is actually exposing children to advanced dc89814843f7ac97577cdb99169309ebmathematical concepts. At the age group of 3-6 years old, they aren’t solving algebra equations yet. However, by understanding how to solve the trinomial cube they are experiencing the trinomial equation: (a+b+c)3.  When they come across these concepts later, they will have
had that experience of actually seeing what this equation looks like and solving it many times when they were in the primary classroom.

There are many other examples similar to the binomial and trinomial cubes in the primary classroom. However, like this blog post is just simply words on a screen, they can’t be fully experienced through reading alone – they have to be seen first hand.

In closing, here is a lovely video of a 3-6 year old primary classroom, a peek into what “work” looks like and how learning is done joyfully.

Thank you all for reading! I’m looking forward to our next article already.

~~Miss B.

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The Primary Principles

“Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence” – Maria Montessori

While there is a wide variety of individual and classroom goals, themes, abilities, and 8f630efb9acdb9f13b396b3bdfd31b84lessons- a set of principles guide our Primary program and serve as the foundation of everything we do. Our Primary Principles are the following:

  • Cultivate a child’s compassion for themselves, others, and the world around them
  • Provide a peaceful and learning-rich environment
  • Empower each child to value their own inner beauty and uniqueness
  • Foster a love and excitement for learning
  • Follow the child:  guide each child’s education based on their ability and needs
  • Nurture independence and confidence within the children
  • Further the child’s development of concentration and value in work
  • Demonstrate peaceful conflict-resolution and problem-solving skills

Our primary classroom is tailored towards these principles. Our curriculum and materials are planned with those in mind. As stated on an article at Montessori Print Shop, “Montessori isn’t just about the materials. A child’s ability to read and write will be of little value if they lack self-confidence, a positive attitude, or simply don’t enjoy learning. You can fill each area with the most perfect materials, but fail to give the children a true Montessori education”.

The blog posts to come will also be centered around these main principles. Therefore, it is important to first understand what is at the core of everything we do.

Please keep checking back for future posts. I have a lot of great topics planned that I hope parents will find very interesting and useful!

-Miss B

Source:
www.MontessoriPrintShop.com

Salutations!

I’m very excited to open this new blog for our Joyful Little Scholars. While I have great plans in store for this blog, this first post will be very short and to the point.  Some things you can look forward to here include articles on the Montessori method/theories, classroom specific highlights to share (because I want to share some of those fantastic moments that these amazing children bless us with),  information about some of our specific work materials (why we use them/their purpose), and finally I will share some helpful tips the parents can use at home!

I’m excited to start this blog project and I only hope that you can gain some helpful or interesting information from it! At the very least, if it brings a smile to your face even once then it will be worth it.

-Miss Bethany