Why Montessori?

img_3690

Your child is now at the age where you can see they need more than what you can give them at home- more structure, more stimulation, maybe just more time with other kids. You are a great parent and want your child to develop into a well-adjusted, happy, independent little one.

So now what?

There are a multitude of options out there for schooling. In pre-school alone (and in Calgary), there are tons of options popping up all over the place- you have play schools, full day preschools, Waldorf, Reggio, Montessori, STEM, STEAM, Project-based, High/Scope, religion based, language immersion. The list is extensive.

A Montessori classroom is based on the work of Maria Montessori, an innovator in the field of education. The Montessori Movement was founded in 1907, but the methods are proven and backed by current child development research. What we know about how children learn has lead to montessori type materials being in many classrooms, whether they be play based or education based. Maria Montessori was far ahead of her time.

When you enter a Montessori classroom, you might be surprised by what you see and hear (or don’t hear). The classroom is neat and tidy and organized. Soft classical music is playing quietly in the background (and the children might be able to tell you what song is on). Students are working individually or in small groups, talking and sharing ideas and information. The teacher might be sitting at a table working with a child or group of children, or she/he might be moving quietly around the room, observing, adding information as needed, or just making notes as she watches what the children are doing. When a child is done with their chosen activity, they arrange it back the way it was (so it’s ready and nice for the next person), and place it back in its designated space on the shelf. They then might go and ask their guide for a lesson on something new, or they will choose another activity independently- setting up a floor mat or table mat and then moving the work to their space.

A little bell will be rung at some point, indicating a transition time, to snack, or reading a story together, or for heading into the gymnasium for some physical activity time. The children will put away their work, put away their mats, and get ready to wash their hands (or take off their indoor shoes and socks if we are heading to gymnastics!).

If they are settling for a snack- when they are done they will put away their snack bags, tidy up their space, and either sit and visit with their friends, or go to the meeting space and choose a book or a quiet activity while waiting for their friends.

As a group at the end of the class, you will see these little 3-6 year olds do a few minutes of yoga and then some meditation before heading off to the rest of their day.

The Montessori classroom is set up for your child to be successful. All the materials are child sized, and ready to be used. Children are given lessons on how to do the activities, how to carry a tray with jugs of water balancing on it- how to tie their shoelaces, and do up zippers, and pour a glass of milk. How to clean up if a spill happens. How to deal with frustration if something isn’t going the way you want. How to be independent, peaceful, empathetic. How to be a global citizen.

Our focus is to develop the whole child- we aren’t just teaching reading & writing (although that is part of what we do!)- we are teaching our children how to be great human beings in a big sense.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us or visit us during our open house on February 10th.

Peace and Light,

Tammy

for life

November

hello november.jpg

How can November already be almost half over?!? Our days in the classroom have been so busy. We are steadily moving forward in our routines and lessons. All of the students have been working hard and learning so much! We had lots of fun at our Halloween Party, and the children were SO cute!

As we have hit some of our cold spells, we are trying to get into the gym every day, even on non-gymnastics classes days to burn off that energy that comes with no outside playtime. We practice yoga and mindfulness mediation in the classroom…..some days it works better than others!

A reminder that our Fall session ends on December 8th with our Mad Science Pizza Party from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm.

Our SNOW camp is from December 11th to 15th from 9 am to 12 pm. If you would like to sign up, please send us a message.

Our November focus is LANGUAGE. We have been reading stories, sequencing (what comes next?), identifying letters and words, listening for comprehension, writing and reading. Just some of the things we are working on and continuing through are:

Dressing Frames,

Binomial Cube

Constructive Triangles

Moveable Alphabet

Pink and Blue Montessori reading materials

Using Scissors appropriately

Sandpaper Letters

Geometry

More advanced practical life activities

We have been having a little inappropriate talk in the classroom and so have reviewed what it is ok to talk about…and what words aren’t good ones to share. If you hear a word at home that you wouldn’t want them to share in the class…please remind them. 🙂

Happy November everyone- let’s keep our fingers crossed that the warm trend continues!

It’s the most wonderful time…

img_8629

Back to school is almost upon us. It’s a bittersweet time of the year- summer has (as usual) flown by, and here we are back at the beginning of the school year. Our classes begin on September 18th, and our parent orientation is on September 11th. Please let me know if you are unable to attend the orientation and I can send you out the information you will need to make your year a success at Hand in Hand. I look forward to a fun and exciting year of learning, yoga, mindfulness, art and language with your children. Our program is carefully planned to help develop children’s habits, attitudes, skills and creative learning. Our goal is to create independence, and little human beings who love learning for the sake of it! See you all on September 11th at 6:30 pm. 

Love, 

Miss Tammy

End of the year…

We are quickly coming up to the last days of classes at Hand in Hand. All the kiddies are looking forward to summer break…and to our wrap up party next week! However, Friday was photo day, and Mrs. D spent the entire weekend downloading, photoshopping, going through well over 600 photos to find the best of the best- hard to do when we have so many cutie-patooties to photograph. Thanks to Mrs. D, all the photos are ready to go, and they are so sweet, I wanted to share some with you.

Welcome 2017!

We are right back into the swing of things in the classroom- language, practical life, math, geography, geometry and gymnastics!

We are learning about the continents, about rhyming words and the proper words for geometric shapes. Our classroom has changed a little bit (Miss Tammy LOVES to mix things up) and new lessons abound on the shelves. We are doing work plans with the children each week so they know what is coming up and what they need to accomplish. A review is always nice at the beginning of a session, so we have been reviewing grace and courtesy and what that means, where things go and how to take care of the classroom and ourselves.

We have also been heavy (like, REALLY heavy) on the reminders regarding sneezing, coughing etc. Our classroom space is cleaned and sanitized daily (including the materials). If we catch someone sneezing or coughing into their hands, we immediately do a hand washing, as well as washing our hands before we begin the day, after gymnastics, after any bathroom breaks and before snack. We review how to blow our nose and how to catch our sneezes and coughs in our elbows. The last thing any of us want is for students to get sick….because if they get sick, then teachers get sick and if all the teachers get sick….no class! Please, please remember that if you need to give your child any type of medication in order for them to feel better….they should NOT be at school.

Please take a look at the year at a glance calendar for February- we don’t have any day closures in January but Teachers convention and Family Day fall in February- you should have the calendar at home- if you don’t then please take a look at the post earlier this year.

A parenting workshop is being planned for March, please keep an eye out in your emails for information if you would like to attend.

Our Summer Kindergarten Prep program is now in the works- it runs from July 17th to 28th- check the website for more details.

Letters of Intent for registration for current students are due now- any that are not in by February 4th cannot be guaranteed a space for September.

Our registration event for September 2017 is being held on February 4th- if you have any friends or family who are attending and planning to register, please have them let us know at the open house, as we have a little referral gift for you!

Miss Tammy will be away from January 20th to 30th-ish, Mrs. D and Miss Natasha will be in the classroom, however if you have any questions or need to let us know about a child’s absence, you can still call or text Miss Tammy to update.

Welcome to 2017! We have started the new year with a bang and will continue to make this the best year yet!

REGISTRATION FOR 2017!

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR!

REGISTRATION EVENT FOR NEW STUDENTS:

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4TH 11:30 AM TO 3:00 PM

 

SPACES ARE VERY LIMITED AND DISAPPEAR QUICKLY!

PLEASE RSVP TO admin@handinhandmontessori.ca if you are attending this registration event.

PLEASE NOTE that this may be the only registration time/day available for the 2017 Fall session as demand is very high.

Thank you and we look forward to meeting you!

 

 

 

 

Montessori Monday

For the most part, when a family comes to our open houses to register- they already have a general idea of what Montessori is all about. Sometimes they have researched themselves and like the ideology behind the method. Other times they have heard good things about Montessori, or about Hand in Hand, and want more information. Occasionally, they have heard that if you put your child in a Montessori program they will be reading and doing multiplication and division by kindergarten.

As proud as I am of the method of teaching we share…the last one is not necessarily true. It’s also not necessarily false!

Maria Montessori was the first female physician in Italy. (That alone was a HUGE feat in 1896!) Her scientific observations of children are what lead her to creating the Montessori materials- most of which are the same ones used today in a Montessori classroom. We will spend some time each Monday reviewing materials, why they are used, how the classroom is set up and more!

In a Montessori classroom, furniture and materials are sized to fit the physical dimensions of a preschooler’s body. Every activity is one that they can carry to their workspace on their own, without assistance from an adult. Their workspace is defined by a work mat, either on the floor or on the table. Before they can take an activity off the shelves, they must first roll out a mat to place their work on. Mats are then rolled up carefully and properly and put back where they belong so they are “nice for the next person”.  As they take work out- they are asked to remember where it goes so they know where to place it back on the shelves when they have completed it. If they work with consumables, they are expected to re-stock the material before returning it. If there is a spill, they are reminded to clean it up so when it does go back to the shelves, it is ready for use once again.

The classroom is their space- a place to feel safe, feel nurtured, feel strong and independent. They are part of a community and therefore take their responsibilities to “their room” seriously. They are the first to notice if something is out of place or missing, or not put away properly. As teachers, we try and give them as much responsibility within the classroom to encourage them to be confident in their abilities (and maybe to get them helping out at home too!)

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to post and we will be happy to answer. Stay tuned for more next Monday!

 

Teacher Tuesday

IMG_3168.jpgTEACHER TUESDAY!

So today we are going to share a little bit about one of our terrific teachers. Her name is Barb Duncombe, but the students know her as Mrs. D. She worked for the Calgary Board of Education for twenty seven years with children from kindergarten thru grade 6. The last 10 years she has worked specifically as a English Language Learner Instructor. She loves working with children and works and volunteers her time with the children. She has two grown children of her own, and five grandchildren, and her favourite thing in the world is to spend time with them. Her other favourite things are photography, computers, crafts, reading and sewing. We are so lucky to have her with us, the children absolutely adore her….and I’m lucky enough to also call her my mom. <3

Our Summer Camp

IMG_2319

This was the first time we have done a summer program. Mostly because Miss Tammy has four children of her own so her summers are already busy! But this year we decided to start small and do a week long program. It was SO fun! 

Miss Emma was our assistant for the week, she worked hard to make sure everyone was safe and had fun. We did Ocean Yoga and imagined we were octopus, fish, whales and coral.  We learned about fish, and the ocean, and rivers. We drank beach smoothies and ate goldfish, decorated cookies and made quesadilla pizzas. We decorated t-shirts and made some ocean friends to take home. Our last day was a field trip to the Bow Habitat Station in Calgary (http://aep.alberta.ca/recreation-public-use/bow-habitat-station/default.aspx) where we learned so much about our rivers and our environment. We went on a hike through the wetlands, saw and fed lots and lots of fish! And enjoyed the beautiful day with a walk by the river.

 

IMG_2241IMG_2243IMG_2244IMG_2245IMG_2263IMG_2271IMG_2286IMG_2293IMG_2300IMG_2313IMG_2316