Norbeck Montessori’s Parent Child Night

Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night Norbeck Montessori's Parent Child Night

Last night was an exciting night for our children as they became the teachers in the classroom!  Each child got a chance to pick three of their favorite lessons to show one of their parents and “teach” them how to do those lessons. It is a fun way for parents to see what their child is working on in their classrooms and it gives the child an opportunity to become the teacher as they guide them through each lesson. I personally love doing these nights because it gives me a chance to see what my son is working on in the classroom and it also gives me a chance just to be a parent and not a teacher.  It is so rewarding to see how other parents engage with their children as they become the students and learn from their little ones.

Norbeck has two parent/child nights each year so that each parent or another special adult in the child’s life can experience what they have been working on. Once the children are finished demonstrating their lessons they have an opportunity to introduce one of their classmates. We encourage the children to pick a friend that their parents may not know so that they better understand their child’s social circles.  This has become one of the ways that Norbeck families can get to know one another.

Thank you to all the parents who came last night and participated in our Parent/Child Night! This is a very important event for the children and it meant a lot to them!

The Dangers of Wearing a Winter Coat in a Car Seat


See how wearing a winter coat in a car seat can endanger your child.

              We thought this topic was one we should make our parents aware of, as each and every child attending Norbeck is still required to sit in a car seat. Did you know that having your child wear their winter coats in a car seat can actually be one of the most unsafe things a lot parents do for children in a car?  During an official crash test conducted in Michigan, a child dummy was buckled into a car seat wearing a winter coat.  Traveling at only 30 miles per hour the crash dummy jerked violently forward during the first test.  When the test was conducted a second time the jacket actually came off the child! It is so scary to think that something like this could happen to one of our children.  When I buckle my son up in his car seat during the winter months, never once did I think that I was putting my son in danger when I have him wear his jacket in his car seat. During the warmer months we have our littles ones sit in their car seats and buckle them up so they are nice and snug.  However, when the colder months comes around when we have our children bundled up, we tend to loosen their straps to allow for the bulk of the coat. By doing this, we are actually doing a disservice to our children because we are actually creating too much space between the buckle and the child’s body for it to be affective. It is recommended to have an extra blanket in your vehicle or put their coats on top of them to keep them warm.  So please, the next time you are putting your child in their car seat during the winter months, remember to take off their jacket- it is one of the easiest ways to help keep them safe!

Norbeck Celebrates 100 Days of School

Watch our video.

From the very first day of school, Mr. Denis’ class keeps track of the number of days they’ve been in school in anticipation of the 100th day.  The days are counted by adding the number to the classroom caterpillar that hangs on Mr. Denis’ wall in his classroom.

More than just a milestone worth noting – the 100th day is the perfect time to have fun with the number 100 while exploring counting, and it is a tangible way of seeing what 100 looks like.

The kids were able to celebrate by singing, eating cake, making lots of noise with noise makers, wearing fashionable glasses while showing off their dance moves.  Each child also received a ‘100 Day’ certificate.

Norbeck’s Annual Valentine’s Day Fun!

2016 Valentine’s Day Celebration

Valentine's 2016 Preschool AK 2

Norbeck was a sea of red, pink, and purple to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Both our big and little Cupids worked so hard on Valentine projects in order to make the classroom festive for their party. The children were so excited to bring in their special Valentine cards and give them out to their friends today. It was a fun filled morning with lots of celebrating, some dancing, lots of yummy goodies which were provided by some of our amazing parents, and just an all-around fun with each other.

The children came in to their classrooms ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day! They were able to enjoy goodies like Valentine cookies, fruit punch, strawberries, red grapes, red Jello-O, and Mini-Bagels for their snack. After snack, they all delivered their Valentine cards to each of their friends, receiving even more goodies like, candy, stickers, and Valentine novelty- all they get to open when they get home. It was a fun filled morning for the children and the teachers and we would like to thank our parents and our children all the love you all show us not only during this time of year but every day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Practical Life – How to Emulate the Montessori Lessons at Home

Parents often ask us how to continue the Montessori approach to learning at home.  There are many ways you can continue and reinforce the approach for your child outside of the classroom.  The purpose of this article is to introduce you to some of the ideas, once you get the hang of it you will start to develop your own solutions.  First, lets start with an overview of what Practical Life is in the Montessori philosophy.

Practical life, in a Montessori classroom, exercises purposeful activities which help in the development of fine and gross motor skills, order, coordination, concentration and independence.  These lessons also help to promote responsibility as well as grace and courtesy.

“Practical life” is the approach that Dr. Maria Montessori followed for children to acquire ‘daily living’ or practical skills they could use for the rest of their lives (e.g., zipping a zipper, pouring a drink, holding a pencil, etc.). With activities like the ‘pouring’ and ‘scooping’ lessons, the children are supposed to transfer items from left to right. This learning activity improves their hand-eye coordination; in addition, it prepares them for pre-reading and pre-writing as we write and read from left to right.

The five categories that Practical Life is divided into are Grace and Courtesy, Preliminaries, Fundamental Skills, Care of the Environment, and Care of Self. The following are just a few of the lessons/activities that can be found in the Practical Life area of a Montessori classroom:

Grace and Courtesy:

  • Getting the teacher’s attention
  • "Pardon me, please."
  • "Excuse me."
  • "Come in."
  • "How do you do?"
  • Introductions

Fundamental Skills:

  • Pouring Lesson (liquid and solid objects)
  • Spooning Lesson
  • Stringing Lessons
  • Sorting Lessons
  • Transfer Lessons
  • Tweezing Lessons
  • Clipping clothespins
  • Bolt and Nut Activities
  • Setting the table

Preliminaries:

  • Getting in and out of the chair
  • Rolling and carrying mats
  • How to walk around the mat
  • Carrying a Tray
  • Folding
  • Carrying a Chair

Caring for the Environment:

  • Dusting
  • Floor sweeping
  • Floor mopping
  • Hammering activities
  • Leaf sponging
  • Watering plants
  • Brass and Silver Polishing (Metal)
  • Table Washing
  • Crumbing (Table sweeping)

Caring for Self:

  • Snap Frame
  • Button Frame
  • Buckle Frame
  • Hook and Eye Frame
  • Lacing Frame
  • Safety Pin Frame
  • Hand washing
  • Stringing Beads
  • Cutting Activities
  • Tying Knots
  • Threading a Needle
  • Sewing Large Buttons
  • Weaving Burlap
  • Unweaving Burlap
  • Fruit cutting (strawberries, bananas, etc.)
  • Preparing snacks

How can you continue this Montessori methodology at home?

Now that we have gone over the basics of Practical Life in the Montessori classroom, how can you continue this practice in your own home?  There are many ways to reinforce the Montessori methodology at home, and it all begins with reinforcing your child’s independence.  Ok, let’s introduce you to a few examples to get you started!

  • Take care of their belongings - When going to or from school, have your child carry in their backpack on their own. When you get home from school, ask your child to take out their lunch box and any papers that they have done for that day. Doing this each day will get them into a routine as well as help them when they go to school because they are encouraged to do the same thing there. This will also teach them the importance of taking care of their belongings and teach them responsibility for their own things.
  • Help in the kitchen - Have your child help set up and clear the table at dinner time. Once they get the hang of this, try having them assist with washing dishes or drying them, help with wiping down the dinner table, and sweeping the floor.
  • Bath time - When it is time for your child to take a bath or shower have them put their dirty clothes in the hamper and pick out their own clothes.
  • Getting dressed- In the morning have your child put his/her own clothes on.
  • Bed time – Ask your child to make their own bed
  • Lunch – Have your child be responsible for putting their lunch boxes in their backpacks, encourage them to remember to do this on their own rather than when you remind them.

These are just a few simple examples, once you get the hang of them you can improvise and come up with endless possibilities.  Some of these suggestions may seem like a lot for your child, but they can do it!  Lessons like these help your child understand that they are a part of a unit and they have responsibilities to not only help themselves but also help in the household. Remember, it is very important in the Montessori classroom that our children gain independence and that they build the confidence that they are able to do things on their own.

Did you know the Royal family has chosen a Montessori Preschool for the handsome Prince George?

Royal Family PhotoPrince William and Princess Kate have chosen a Montessori school for their first child, Prince George, to attend. On Wednesday, January 6th Prince George started at Westacre Montessori in Norfolk, UK. Westacre is located 10 miles away from the Royal’s Anmer Hall home on the Sandringham Estate.  A mother of three whose sons went there said “It is a fantastic little school, very easy going, caring and anyone can attend.”

Prince William and Prince Harry both attended Montessori schools growing up. Their mom, Princess Diana, was an assistant in a Montessori school before she married Prince Charles.

Prince William and Princess Kate chose a Montessori Education for Prince George because they wanted an atmosphere that puts an emphasis on a child’s independence, freedom and social development. They wanted Prince George to be a part of a mixed age classroom in hopes that he will learn from his older peers while having the ability to choose lessons that peak his interest.

Norbeck Montessori’s Approach to Reading

A lot of people ask us how we teach children to be such good readers? We tell them that we don’t necessarily “teach” them to be good readers; rather, we give them the foundation they need in order to become great readers.  Norbeck begins teaching children how to read the very first day they start with us.  Our youngest learners are introduced to Practical Life and Sensorial lessons which start on the left and move to the right- just like the text on a page.  Using the Montessori Methodology, we continuously build upon this with the other didactic material.  From the sandpaper letters (which is their first introduction to the sounds the letters make) to the Leaf Cabinet on the science shelf, the material has a constant left to right and up to down flow.

Norbeck Montessori's Approach to Reading

Watch Our Video to Learn More About Our Reading Approach

Contrary to other methods of learning, our process is not by rote memorization.  We teach our students how to comprehend what they are doing.  Rather than teaching the letter “Aa”, in Montessori we focus on the sound pronunciation, A is “ah”, B is “bu”, etc.  When the children understand the sounds each letter makes, we can teach them how to build words by sounding them out.  We engage our parents in this process so the learning continues outside of the classroom.  Studies have shown that when learning is reinforced at home, and not just in the classroom, children comprehend much more.  Once a student has shown they are ready, we will send books home with them so that they can read with their families.  At Norbeck we begin with simple two and three letter word books and as the child develops, we move onto more complex books.  To us, what is important is that we work with our students to make sure they actually comprehend, not just memorize, what they are reading! This way they are able to decode more complex tasks as they progress with more ease.

Norbeck Montessori Reading ProgramNorbeck can’t make a child a great reader.  We use the proven Montessori Method to take an eager child and allow them to become the reader they want to be.  We do this by ensuring our students have the foundation to become great readers.  Using the Montessori Methodology, we work with each child at their level, and give them the tools they need to be prepared to take on these tasks.  Perhaps our greatest pride is that our students develop a love for learning.

Did You Know?

To welcome in the New Year we thought it would be fun to highlight a number of famous people who were/are Montessorians. Did you know that Ann Frank was Montessori educated? How about Jacqueline Kennedy, or Prince William, or Steve Wozniak? Here is a list of just a few people you may recognize who received a Montessori education:

Sergey_BrinSergey Brin – is an American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who, together with Larry Page, co-founded Google, one of the most profitable Internet companies.  Brin immigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of six. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by studying mathematics, as well as computer science.

Anne_FrankAnne Frank was a diarist and writer. She was one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Her wartime diary The Diary of a Young Girl has been the basis for several plays and films. Born in the city of Frankfurt in Weimar Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Born a German national, Frank lost her citizenship in 1941. She gained international fame posthumously after her diary was published. It documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

Car Seat Safety

Norbeck Montessori Car Seat SafetyMotor vehicle related accidents are the leading cause of death amongst children every year in the United States.  According to the CDC, more than 800 children aged 14 years and younger died in 2011 from motor vehicle crashes, and over 180,000 children were injured.  Most of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented.

The Scary Facts

As a parent, child safety is very important to me and it saddens me to think about how preventable most of these automobile related injuries are.  Car seat safety for our children has to be a priority. It is so important that we as parents understand the proper use of a child safety seat.  According to safekids.org, approximately 73% of child restraints are misused, 73%!!  And of those 73%, infant seats have the highest percentage of misuse, followed by rear-facing convertible seats. 

What You Can Do At Home To Promote The Montessori Philosophy

As we have been conducting our workshops on Montessori Education, one of the questions we have heard from several of our parents is, “What things can I do at home that will promote the Montessori Montessori at Homephilosophy?”. Promoting independence is the key when finding things for your child(ren) to do at home, something that they can do on their own or with very little help.  The sky is really the limit and each child is going to be different, so here are just a few suggestions of things your child can do to help around the house and to incorporate what they are learning at school:

  1. When your child arrives home from school have them put away their things. If possible, create a space for their belongings such as several hooks on the wall for their backpack and coat. This will allow them to take ownership of their possessions.
  2. Have your child put on and take off their own jackets.
  3. Have your child help you with making dinner by asking them to measure, cut, or stir. This gets them involved in the process and it can be a lot of fun!