The Importance of the Uninterrupted Work Period

We wanted to give you a little bit of background on why we are such “sticklers” about arriving on time to school. We do understand that life happens and sometimes things are out of your control. Our intention is not to punish parents and create conflicts and stress. We hope that this background information helps you.

One of the things that sets Montessori apart from other educational philosophies is the emphasis on the child’s freedom within a prepared environment (the classroom). The Montessori teacher, or “guide” is there to entice and invite the children to explore with the learning materials rather than dictate what to do. Children should be presented with information when they are interested and developmentally ready, and not according to the schedule or time of day. In order to allow for this exploration, the uninterrupted work period of at least 3 hours is required. Through much trial and error and observation, Maria Montessori found this to be the necessary amount of time and so it has been the standard in true Montessori schools for over 100 years! The purpose of this block of time is to allow children to select materials freely, and to become absorbed in their work. They are absorbed because they have the freedom to choose to work with something that is fascinating to them in their particular stage of development. The children are also hesitant to choose challenging work if they are not expecting to have enough time to complete it. Any interruption to the child’s work period disrupts the fragile focus, concentration, critical thinking, problem solving, and exploration which is being developed. For this reason, our drop-off policy has evolved. In order to allow time for a beautiful classroom community lunch and outdoor playtime, the work period must begin by 8:30 and continue without disruption. Each child deserves this opportunity, and a late arrival to the class not only takes away from that child’s experience, but disrupts the others as well. Each child wants to pause from his or her work to greet and welcome the friend or see whose “Mommy” or “Daddy” has come. Our goal is not to make parents feel stressed or guilty when arriving late, or to charge fees. It is our top priority to have this uninterrupted work time for the children to have the best opportunity for learning and development. Please help us with this commitment by bringing your children to school on time!

We consider our parents as partners in providing the best environment for the children and truly have a great desire to work with you in a harmonious way.

(source: http://www.kinderhousemontessori.com/the-uninterrupted-work-period/)

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The Montessori learning method, founded by Maria Montessori, emphasizes a collaborative environment without grades or tests, multi-aged classrooms, as well as self-directed learning and discovery for long blocks of time, primarily for young children ages 2 1/2 to 7.

By the end of kindergarten, among 5-year-olds, “Montessori students proved to be significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children,” according to the researchers. “They also tested better on “executive function,” the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.”

Of course, Montessori methods go against the grain of traditional educational methods. We are given very little opportunity, for instance, to perform our own, original experiments, and there is also little or no margin for failure or mistakes. We are judged primarily on getting answers right. There is much less emphasis on developing our creative thinking abilities, our abilities to let our minds run imaginatively and to discover things on our own.

But most highly creative achievers don’t begin with brilliant ideas, they discover them.

Google, for instance, didn’t begin as a brilliant vision, but as a project to improve library searches, followed by a series of small discoveries that unlocked a revolutionary business model. Larry Page and Sergei Brin didn’t begin with an ingenious idea. But they certainly discovered one.

Reference:
Sims, Peter. “The Montessori Mafia.” Ideas Market RSS. The Wall Street Journal, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014. <http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/04/05/the-montessori-mafia/&gt;.

Happy Holidays!

Merry-Christmas-Banner-Blue800

I. TODDLER NEWS
I can’t believe December is already here, bringing us 2015 right around the corner. We have been diligently working on introducing the sounds of the letters a to z. As we are working on the last set of letters, you might want to pick up on this great learning opportunity at home, too. Just remember that we are learning the letter sounds, not the letter names. The children really enjoy repeating the sound and then finding an item that starts with that sound. For example, say “a” (sound for short a) then say alligator, apple, etc.

November was full of excitement as the children worked very hard on their November and Thanksgiving art projects. They made a wreath using their hand tracings, a corn stalk, a turkey and a basket with fruits. The children love keeping their little hands busy with arts and crafts.

II. PRESCHOOL NEWS
This semester is almost over and the holiday season is about to start. I am very glad that the students have made significant progress academically and in other areas as well. Their communication skills have tremendously improved; they learned how to take care of themselves and the environments; they learned how and why to respect others, to behave and to use good manners; they gained self-confidence and self-esteem. I am very proud of them. I look forward to the parent-teacher conference to share the detailed information on their progress with you at the end of this semester.

We did our “First Thanksgiving” project. It is our tradition to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and learn history at the same time. We also learned rhymes and songs and did art and craft projects about the Pilgrims and Indians and the turkey. We had a wonderful time at our Thanksgiving party and our performance for our friends in the other classes was very successful. In science we studied how materials with different densities reacted in water. They learned the words ‘density’ and ‘volume’ and discovered how to raise and lower water levels using marbles. The students were excited and had so much fun during these experiments.

This month we will continue introducing the children new knowledge while reviewing the concepts we have previously learned. We will be learning and singing holiday songs and doing arts and crafts about Santa, reindeer and other holiday related projects. We are looking forward to meeting with you at our parent-teacher conference.

III. ELEMENTARY NEWS
We have been studying the countries and capital cities of North America and South America. The students are now able to name the body parts of the frog and the fish as well as the parts of a tree. The parts of an atom were introduced and they expressed amazement in learning that everything is made of atoms. We made projects and learned songs related to the Thanksgiving celebration. We discussed the Thanksgiving holiday and reasons for celebrating it.

During the month of December, we will continue to study the structure of the first ten kinds of atoms. We will practice playing different rhythms using rhythm sticks and other percussion instruments.

We will also continue working on reading and spelling skills as well as studying about colors and musical notes. We will begin to name the body parts of the tortoise and bird. We are planning to finish our family chart, using pictures of the child and his/her family members.

May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you as we culminate the year of 2014 and welcome 2015!