Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Montessori Method: Communication

As we are in the midst of the season of giving, we may sometimes forget that the most important part of the holiday season is simply giving. This can be the most difficult “gift” to give since giving requires one to also lend some time. I often find myself saying “I never have enough time”, and before I know it, time is already gone. One of the most important times in anyone’s life is the time that passes between birth and 6 years old; this is the time when we learn subconsciously, and everything gets soaked up. So for this Montessori Method Update, we will focus on the importance of communicating and applying the Montessori Method of communication into our daily lives with our children.

The Montessori Method emphasizes the importance of treating children with respect and appreciating the fact that no two children are the same. It is this simple truth that highlights the effectiveness of communicating in the Montessori Method. According to this methodology, communicators (i.e. teachers and parents) must be attentive to their words AND nonverbal cues. By using positive words and speaking courteously (i.e. saying “May I?” and “Please), communicators can create an encouraging environment while enforcing respectful behavior. Also, speaking calmly and warmly especially when a child is exhibited “undesirable behavior” will influence your child to react in the same manner. Finally, since children, notably young children, use nonverbal communication often, the Montessori Method calls on communicators to pay attention to the subtle movements that children make. By addressing what children say without words, we give value and a voice to the message the child was silently communicating.

The Montessori Method for communication can be implemented in our daily lives, but the place where it is most often needed but not used is during television. When your children are watching television sit and enjoy the show with them; television programs often contain scenarios and words that are too complex for their young minds to understand. By watching television with your children, you will increase your children’s understanding and also create lasting memories. In addition, you can monitor what your kids are exposed to, limit television time and also explain what is occurring during a program. Watching television should be an enjoyable time for your children, and with you by their side, your children will also gain the priceless gift of your time.

Of course, time is always slipping away, but when you do have a moment, we hope that you and your children are able to create memories to last a lifetime. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Preventing the Flu

As winter is fast approaching, the common cold and the flu are beginning to set in as well. For this week’s health post, we will offer a few great ways to improve your child’s immunity to ensure that the flu does not arrive at your home.

The first step to ensuring your child stays healthy this winter is making sure your child gets the proper amount of sleep. If your child attends a preschool or daycare, it can be difficult for him or her to sleep from all the excitement of learning and being with friends. Still, it is critical that childcare workers, teachers and parents work together to enable kids to get adequate sleep. Children ages 1 to 3 years old need 12 to 14 hours of sleep daily; often these hours are achieved be taking an afternoon nap and then sleeping about 10 hours at night. On the other hand, children ages 3 to 6 years old require 10 to 12 hours of sleep per day, which can be achieved by your child sleep soundly at night.

Another major step for guarding your child this winter season is to feed him or her fruits and vegetables. Great immunity boosting fruits include strawberries, blueberries and cantaloupe, and some great examples of vegetables are tomatoes, broccoli and pumpkin. These fruits and vegetables will strengthen your child’s health by increasing his or her immunity to ward off viruses. Another great food to include is salmon, which is rich in Omega 3 fats; consuming foods that have high level Omega 3 fats increases the production of macrophages, white blood cells that consume bacteria.

Finally, keeping your kids active this winter will not only keep them warm but will help them build up their immunity this season. By exercising or simply having fun, your child’s white blood cells can produce macrophages to fight off possible viruses. Sleeping well at night, eating healthy and getting active are just a few of the steps you can take this winter to keep your child.

These are just a few ways we can protect both our children and ourselves from getting sick this winter. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Implementing Technology in Education

At Evergreen Montessori House, we utilize technology to enhance the academic experience for our students. By integrating tablets and computer software, our students have a variety of opportunities to engage their minds. For example, for our kindergartners, we found that the tablet is a great resource for them to enhance the reading comprehension and also provide phonics exercises. For our preschoolers, computer programs provide a great avenue for our younger students to review shapes, letters and numbers.

According to Kneas and Perry (2013), children interact with computers, thus allowing them to engage their minds; they determine how and when they will complete the game. Conversely, television programs are typically passive and do not allow children to “control” the ending. Still, there are great educational programs available for children, but educators, parents and guardians must ensure that television does not allow for laziness. In our previous blog post about using the Montessori Method to communicate with children, we stressed the importance of engaging children while they are watching programs.

Of course, we recommend only exposing a child to technology for a limited amount of time. In addition, not every child will enjoy using technology; you should never push a child to use a device or toy if she or he does not have any interest. Finding a balance will be difficult, but when we allow children to explore new avenues for education, we create opportunities for them to engage their minds and the world around them in exciting ways. 


Kneas, Kimberly M., and Bruce D. Perry. "Using Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom." Using Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom. Scholastic, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2013. <>.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Implementing the Montessori Method

Learn how to implement Montessori at Home

It is very easy to implement the Montessori Method at home. All of Dr. Montessori’s work was based solely on observations of the child in his or her environment. Dr. Montessori viewed the child as the future adult and, like adults, the child’s personality, thoughts and movements all depended on the early environment – or the home environment. The early environment should reflect the individual needs of a child.

It is important to realize that Montessori was the name of a person. Dr. Maria Montessori was a physician from Italy who observed children in her care. Dr. Montessori developed a teaching method based on her observations. This teaching method is what we refer to as “Montessori”; and it is important to remember that this is a teaching method, not a philosophy.

In a Montessori classroom, the teacher is not the center of attention, but, rather, an observer. The Montessori teacher is referred to as the “adult” and only directs classroom activities when the children need assistance. Children in a Montessori classroom are encouraged to work in groups or individually. When in groups, children are encouraged to work collectively, by working together to resolve issues. If there is a difference of opinion or a conflict between children, they are encouraged to resolve their issues on their own. If the adult is required to intervene, he or she helps the children work through the problem by stating the facts and never taking sides. The autonomy of the child in a Montessori classroom teaches the child independence and increases self confidence.

As a parent, you too can increase your child’s independence and self esteem at home by following these easy steps:

  1. Be patient with your child and meet your child where he or she is developmentally;
  2. Be honest with your child and communicate to your child what you value in him or her;
  3. Observe your child carefully and ascertain where they are developmentally;
  4. Own up to your mistakes and apologize to your child when you are wrong;
  5. Model and teach your child grace and courtesy;
  6. Allow your child to speak for themselves rather than speaking for him or her to develop communication skills and confidence;
  7. Refrain from material rewards and excess praise;
  8. Establish a routine in which children wake up, eat and go to bed at the same time every day;
  9. Teach your child responsibility by getting them a small pet, such as a fish or a turtle, and show your child how to care for the pet;
  10. Dress your child to facilitate the freedom of movement, decrease distractions and develop independence; 
  11. Increase self esteem and confidence by making everything easily accessible – place your child’s toys on low shelves they take toys from and put back, place a sturdy stood in front of the bathroom sink allowing your child to wash his or her hands by himself or herself, and etc;
  12. Sort laundry with your child and make it fun by teaching your child how to sort and fold clothes, talk about colors, shapes and textures, and etc;
  13. Allow your child to cook with you, but peeling egg shells or cutting vegetables (if your child is old enough to use a butter knife safely);
  14. Refrain from doing things for your child and give your child enough time to do things on their own (for example, allow your child the extra 10 minute in the morning to button their own shirt, zip their jacket and/or tie their shoe laces); 
  15. Recycle and rotate your child’s toys;
  16. Collect “treasures” with your child and have a place to store them. To your child, “treasures” may include: rocks, scraps of paper, buttons, and etc;
  17. Teach your child the basics – right and left, crossing the road, and etc;
  18. Introduce the letter sound and make it a fun game;
  19. Teach your child to appreciate their surrounding by taking walks together, exploring your back yard, watching the sunrise and sunset, or gazing at the stars. Take walks throughout the year, allowing your child to experience the characteristics of the different seasons.
  20. Watch television with your child;
  21. Listen to music with your child, including children’s songs you can sing along and other genres – such as classical, jazz, show tunes, etc – to introduce your child to a broad range of musical experiences;
  22. Introduce your child to art by making it fun – visit the museum together and pack a picnic lunch, read children’s books about art, complete art projects together, etc;
  23. Teach your child to appreciate silence and how to sit patiently and quietly;
  24. Share interesting news with your child, such as the birth of a tiger at the zoo, a new dinosaur fossil found or the weather forecast;
  25. When taking long trips with your child take the bus or train to introduce your child to new and exciting experiences;
  26. When traveling without your child, share your travel plans and leave notes to be read to your child every day;
  27. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the time you spend with your child. Before you realize it, your child will be all grown up!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Safety Tips

With summer in full swing, we at Evergreen Montessori House would like to wish all our readers a safe and fun summer vacation. For this post we will provide some safe summer tips to help keep your children safe and having fun.

Along with the warm weather also comes an influx of insects. In order to keep bugs away from your children, look for repellents that have a 10 to 30% concentration of DEET. Alternatives to DEET, which can be toxic, include repellents with picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. A fun tip to keep in mind is light colored clothing can actually reduce the incidence of bug bites and bee stings, contrary to popular belief.

A great way to spend your summer is relaxing at the pool but always supervise your children. Even better, organizations like the CDC recommend keeping children at arms left at all time. If you have a pool at home, experts advise parents and guardians to install a fence at least 4 feet high on all sides of the pool. This will help prevent your children from falling and hurting themselves. Finally, by wearing a “floaties”, we can help reduce the likelihood of drowning; always ensure that they are snug to keep your child’s head out of the war.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 200,000 children under the age of 14 are rushed to the emergency room due to accidents on playgrounds. One great preventative measure that parents and guardians can take is to inspect the playground equipment. Ensuring that the equipment is not too hot and that there are no loose ropes will help keep everyone safe and having fun. With a little supervision, we all can reduce the risk of playground injuries.   

A great way to both exercise and spend time with your children is going for a bike ride. In order to keep both yourself and your child safe, always wear a helmet that fits snuggly and is not loose. Always make sure that you are using the right type of helmet as well; for example, when biking wear a bike helmet. Finally, teach your children road safety and that bikers always ride in the same direction as traffic. Enjoying the scenic views and fresh air is both great for your health and building your relationship with your child.  

For more tips and further explanations, we recommend clicking on the following links:

Have a happy and safe summer! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

End of the 2012-2013 school year

The last day of school for the 2012-2013 school year is Friday, June 28! We had a great year, which included many new additions to our program.

Since returning to EMH as a teacher and program coordinator, I worked to include more of my areas of expertise: science and health. It's been fun experimenting: sometimes the project is a huge success; other times, a massive failure. But it's always been fun. 

We also have been more involved in our community. We opened our parent workshops to any parent who is interested and had the opportunity to appear on local radio. Finally, we created this blog. 

This has been an exciting year and next year will be even more exciting - it will be our 20th school year!We hope you have a great summer and see you next school year! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hanging Flower Decoration

Add a touch of color and summer to your room! This craft is both simple and fun to make. It’s even easier to personalize. Within minutes, you can add a new decoration to your room.


·         Construction paper – 3 different colors
·         3 different sized circles to trace
·         Scissors
·         Glue
·         Plastic Straw
·         Scotch Tape
·         Ribbon


1. Trace 3 different sizes of circles (small, medium and large)on 3 different pieces of construction paper. Cut out with scissors.

2. Glue all three circles on top of each other, with the smallest circles on top and largest circle on the bottom.

3. Using scissors cut small triangles out of the largest circle.

4. Cut a small piece of a plastic straw.

5. Tape the straw to the back of the flower.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 and string the flowers together with ribbon.

7. Hang up and decorate! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Friends of Kevin Radio Interview

Earlier today I had a great conversation about preschool education with Kevin Willett from the Friends of Kevin radio show.

During today's conversation, we talked about a range of topics from EMH's history, common questions about the Montessori Method and preschool education, and our program in general. 

Please visit us again for a link to the interview. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Preschool Graduation Ceremony

Today was EMH's 19th graduation ceremony! It was a fun event, celebrating the achievements of each child in our program, followed by a potluck lunch filled with lots of delicious food. 

You may be wondering, what is a preschool graduation ceremony? And, why even have one for children who are so young? These are some common questions that we hope to answer for you.

The graduation ceremony 

Each school is different and preschool graduation ceremonies vary greatly between schools. Some preschools order graduation caps and gowns, while other schools, like EMH, are less formal and children wear their normal attire. Almost all schools, follow a similar formula: the graduation begins with a short student performance, then the children are awarded ribbons and certificates, and after families are invited for lunch.

At EMH, the graduation program changes every year, depending on the ages and interests of the children enrolled. Some years, the children sing and dance to songs they enjoy and have special meaning to them. One year, the children dramatically acted one of their favorite songs. This year, each child preformed a song on the piano.

We hold our graduation ceremony on Saturday mornings, to make it more convenient for families attend. Normally, the graduation ceremonies are short, and the length of the potluck lunch depends our families. This year, although our class was small, the families who participated were great. We had a delicious lunch with even better conversation and the children had a great time eating and playing.

Why we have graduation ceremonies

Our students eagerly await graduation day. Some students, if they begin at age two and continue through to Kindergarten, graduate from preschool multiple times. However, each year they are excited for the ceremony: the children are proud of themselves and their work and look forward to receiving recognition for all they have achieved.

When many people think back to their preschool years, all they might remember are fun and games. This is exactly what we want people to remember: that the process of learning is fun. However, because of the increased use of standardized testing at an early age, preschool programs, even play based programs, are more focused on academics. On top of teaching children the basics, many schools also now teach children how to complete school work; some preschools even assign homework.

Personally, as a teacher, I see how much children grow and develop during the preschool years socially, emotionally, cognitively, linguistically and physically. Having a graduation ceremony teaches them to recognize their achievements and to be proud of all they have accomplished. At this morning's ceremony, I saw how proud the children were that they had learned how to play the piano. Playing for their parents was a big accomplishment for them.

For children moving on to kindergarten or first grade, the preschool graduation ceremony can be an important milestone. Many children will soon begin riding a yellow bus to school when they start "big kid" school. These children are always excited a proud to be moving on to the next stage in their academic careers.

At EMH, the graduation ceremony is a fun and laid back event that means a lot to our students. We always have a lot of food and a great time with our parents. Although the children may be too young to grasp what a graduation ceremony really means, they do deserve recognition for the achievements and are proud of what they have accomplished.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Parent Workshops

Earlier tonight we held a parent workshop at our school on how to implement the Montessori Method at home. The parents from our school and wider community had some great questions about the Montessori Method and we had a lively discussion about what Montessori is and is not, and how easy it is to use at home.

Parent workshops are an important part of a preschool program. Research demonstrates that when families and caregivers are involved in their child's preschool, their children  do better in school, academically and socially. In fact, parent engagement has been defined as parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning and development of children. Through our workshops, we hope that parents learn more about the Montessori Method, and can continue the learning process at home to support their child's learning and development.

This goal is not limited to our school; our workshops are open to parents of children who are not enrolled in our program. We know the Montessori Method works and know that all children, regardless of whether they are enrolled in a Montessori school or not, can benefit from the Montessori Method. We know that our community is a part of our school. In fact, studies suggest that, when communities become involved in schools, they provide additional support to the children and teachers.

Thank you to all the parents and caregivers who attended our workshop. We know that everyone has busy schedules and it can be difficult to attend these events and appreciate that you were able to join us.

Epstein JL. School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing  Educators and Improving Schools Second Edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 2011.

Powell, D. Families and Early Childhood Programs. NAEYC: 1989.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cut Paper Flowers

This craft is easy and fun to make and is slightly different from other flower crafts. You can make this flower as a gift: just assemble and place in a jar.


·         Construction paper – green and 3 other colors
·         3 different sized circles you can trace
·         Pencil
·         Scissors
·         Glue
·         Green pipe cleaners


1. On three different pieces of construction paper that are 3 different colors, trace 3 circles of different sizes (small, medium and large). Cut the circles out with scissors.

2. Fold the large circle in half, 4 times over.

3. Using a pencil, draw the outline of flower petals. The outline should be only a curve along the outer edge.  Cut along the curved line with scissors.

4. Glue the small circle to the medium circle.

5. With scissors, make small cuts along the edge of the medium circle.

6. Attach a green pipe cleaner to the large circle that has been cut to resemble a flower.

7. Glue the medium circle to the large circle.

8. On a green piece of construction paper, draw flower petals. Cut out the flower petals with scissors.

9. Glue the flower petal to the green pipe cleaner. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paper Caterpillar

This is a simple craft that only requires a sheet of paper and some glue! It is also great for developing fine motor skills: children use their fingers to fold and assemble the caterpillar.


·         Paper
·         Scissors
·         Glue
·         Color pencils, crayons, markers and any material to decorate the caterpillar


1. Fold a piece of paper in half, with the long sides together. Fold the paper in half again, 2 more times.

2. Unfold the paper. Cut along the folds. There should be 8 strips of paper.

3. Give your child 2 strips of paper. Have your child decorate 2 of the strips.

4. Dab glue on one end of one of the strips. Press the strip onto the end of the other strip to form a “V”.

5. Fold over the left strip and crease it. Fold it down, so it overlaps the right strip.

6. Fold over the right strip, so it overlaps with the left strip.

7. Continue folding over strip neatly over the other strip.

8. When you get to the end of the two strips, glue the ends together. You can also make a longer caterpillar, by gluing the ends of 2 more strips to the end, and repeating steps 3-7.

9. Decorate the caterpillar by adding feelers, eyes and etc. Remember to have fun!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Friends with Kevin Radio Interview

This morning I had a lot of fun with Kevin Willet from the 'Friends of Kevin' radio show on WSMN 1590.

Kevin is always great to chat with; this morning was no exception. We talked about the life long value of preschool education and discussed what preschool really teaches children. 

You can listen to the full interview on the Friends of Kevin radio show website:

Thanks for tuning in! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Paper Dolls in a Kimono

Currently, we are learning about the different countries and cultures in Asia. The kimono is a beautiful dress from Japan that children that fascinate the children: the exact symmetric folds, pretty colors and unique designs all attract their attention.

  • Cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Stapler
  • Crayons or color pencils or markers


1. On a piece of cardstock, draw the outline of the paper doll, according to the image shown. Using scissors, cut the doll out of the paper.

2. Using a pencil, draw a face and an outline for the hair on the doll. Color the doll.

3. Cut 2 piece of construction paper in half. The construction paper should be 2 different colors. Choose one piece to go on top and the second piece to go on the bottom. Please note, for some children, it is too difficult to fold the two pieces. It is alright to only fold the top half, using one piece of construction paper.

 4. Line the construction paper that will go on the top with the dolls neck. On one side, fold the top corner down to the opposite side.

5. Fold the corner of overlapping construction paper back.

6. Fold the other top corner towards the opposite side. Fold the corner of the over lapping construction paper back. The top half of the kimono is completed. If you are working with younger children, this may be where to end the craft. If so, have the child decorate the kimono. If the children are able to fold according to directions, move on to the next step.

7. Line up the bottom half of the doll in the middle of the construction paper. Fold one side over. Fold the part of the kimono that overlaps back.

8. Fold the other side of the kimono over. Fold the overlapping side back.

9. Decorate the kimono. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rocket Ship - Paper Towel Roll

This rocket ship is simple to make and your children can have a lot of fun playing with it, or using it as a science experiment.


  • Paper towel roll
  • Cardboard
  • Masking Tape
  • Scissors 
  • Paint 
  • Stickers or other materials to decorate the rocket
1. Cut four slits in the top of a paper towel roll, with scissors. The slits should all be the same length and should be able to overlap to form a cone. 

2. Form the cone and use masking tape to secure it. 

3. Make 2 rocket ship wings on a piece of cardboard. Cut out the wings with scissors. 

4. Fold up approximately 1cm the base of the wings. 

5. Secure the wings to the rocket using masking tape. 

6. Paint the rocket ship and decorate.