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How to Create a Successful Montessori Classroom

Montessori classrooms are serene, happy places designed to meet the developmental needs of each child in every stage of life. Children need change as they move through the stages of development. Through a Montessori education these changes are honored through the preparation of the classroom environment. Montessori prepared environments liberate children’s energy for growth and learning.

It’s Their Classroom!

It is important for us to remember that preparing a classroom for our children needs to meet the needs of the child. Try to see things from a child’s perspective, so that you understand how they view the environment. In a Montessori, prepared environment every part of the room should be beautiful. It is important to use attractive shelves, tables, and chairs. Materials should for the most part be made of “real” wood or products instead of plastic. Children tend to take care of and handle more carefully materials that are made with finer quality products.

Less is More!

Control the environment not the children. Remember that less is more! Keep a clutter free classroom and selectively pick what you would like to put on shelves based on what the children are learning. Crammed shelves tend to cause more chaos and confusion in little minds; making it more difficult for them to make good work choices. The children will be more comfortable and so will you.

Imagination and Creativity!

Montessori classrooms support the development of imagination and creativity at every stage of learning. The building blocks of imagination are established through sensory exploration, imagination, and self-expression. Our classrooms are full of open ended activities, hands on learning, and real life experiences.

Children who receive a Montessori education quickly learn not to rely solely on adults, but rather explore for themselves. This method of learning will instill a great sense of accomplishment as well as instilling the confidence to do things for themselves.

April 20th, 2017

Posted In: Benefits of the Montessori Method

Natural Playgrounds

Outside play is a hugely significant part of any child’s development, and creating safe, interactive, and stimulating environments for children to play in is so important. Children experience a great sense of freedom in outdoor settings. One of the newest trends in child care is the move towards natural playgrounds. Natural playgrounds, unlike traditional plastic playgrounds, are created using largely natural materials, creating beautiful, exciting playgrounds that are fun and safe, and respect the environment too. Natural playgrounds also provide greater opportunities for children to engage in interactive play. They contain space for children to run and play as well as utilize natural materials which are movable and can be manipulated by little hands. The opportunities for exploration and creativity are endless.

There are many benefits in creating a natural playground for outside play such as:

  • They Help Children Be More Active
  • They are Accessible
  • They Encourage Imaginative Play
  • They Improve Social Skills
  • They Aid in the Development of Motor Skills

According to the Children and Nature Network, children who play regularly in natural settings are sick less often. Mud, sand, water, leaves, sticks, pine cones, and gum nuts can help to stimulate children’s immune systems as well as their imagination. One of the greatest benefits of natural playgrounds is the ways they help children improve their fine motor skills. A natural setting involves a vast array of textures, sensory activities, gardens and natural sounds to encourage children to engage all their senses. Playing outside should be fun, and what kids don’t love to create, climb, make believe, and engage in a natural environment all while burning off steam.

April 7th, 2017

Posted In: Benefits of the Montessori Method

Tips for Montessori Educators – Working with Toddlers

Montessori educators working Toddlers

When working with small children, there are highs and lows – for educator and child alike. Sometimes, it can be difficult to ride the waves of emotion, progress, and change. Despite the challenges, working with toddlers is an incredible experience – one that can be just as rewarding for the educator as it is for the child. To help you make the most of your experience as a Montessori educator, read on for some practical, Montessori-inspired tips for working with toddlers.

Keep Them Engaged

Toddlers are high-energy, curious little people who are always looking for something to get into. When a young child is misbehaving, it could be that they need stimulation. You’re well aware that the Montessori classroom is a very child-centered environment with a lot to offer young minds. But, there are some things you can do for children who need a little extra engagement. One tip to try is to create “busy bags” or other activities that are not within reach, so you have something fresh to offer.

Set Simple, Consistent Rules

Toddlers need structure and simple boundaries. Keep rules easy to state and remember, repeating them as often as necessary. Don’t set too many rules, otherwise the child will be overwhelmed. Young children have difficulty with cause and effect, so explaining the details of why the rules are in place might not be the best idea at this age. Instead, use easy to understand phrases to get the idea across. Create a few simple rules, and make sure to consistently enforce them so the child knows what is expected of them.

Teach Story-Time Lessons

One of the best ways to show children how to handle difficult situations is through story. From learning how to share to developing bathroom independence, storytelling is a great way to engage children while teaching them valuable life lessons. Involving the children in the story by talking about it afterward is a great way to fortify the “moral of the story” while growing reading comprehension skills.

Use positive language

One of the greatest challenges Montessori educators face when working with Toddlers is learning to say “no” without actually saying it. Though it’s important to set boundaries, saying “no” too often can lead to an increase in defiant behavior. Instead, try phrases like, “That isn’t for (child’s name),” and “Let’s try this instead.” Redirection is a great way to avoid tantrums while teaching the child what is acceptable and what is not.

Encourage Their Need for Independence

If you’re around toddlers for long, you’re sure to hear phrases like, “I do it myself,” and “that’s mine!” This is completely normal as a child moves from being a completely dependent infant into an independent toddler. Encourage this while helping the child to express themselves in a positive and respectful way. Allow the child to help prepare snacks, clean up around the classroom, and do as much for themselves as possible. Forging independence and a “you can do it” atmosphere is an essential Montessori element, one that toddlers crave.

The Montessori method of education offers great insight into the growing of young minds. With a foundation of individual attention, child-centered learning, independence and social development – your role as a Montessori educator is very important as you learn and grow together!

January 25th, 2017

Posted In: Montessori Education, Tips, Uncategorized

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How to Evaluate the Progress in Montessori Education

Montessori Education Kid Reading

Montessori Kids Universe schools strive to deliver authentic Montessori education and develop children who are well educated, socially fulfilled; independent thinkers; full of creativity. How can you be sure your Montessori student is getting the most from their education?

Characteristics of a Great Montessori Experience

When evaluating the student, here are some key characteristics to look for. These core components are what we; at Montessori Kids Universe schools strive to develop in the children we serve.

  • Independence. MKU students will develop an “I can do it myself” attitude.
    Though all children need guidance and instruction; our children don’t rely solely on the teacher; but learn to self discover and explore independently.
  • Confidence. Children in our classrooms will learn to tackle challenging problems
    with confidence; asking for help when necessary. They are willing to try new things and learn from their mistakes.
  • Self-discipline. The child will learn to make the right choices without punishment.
    Every child seeks instruction from teachers and parents; needing less re-direction.
  • Motivation to Learn. The MKU classroom encourages children to become fully- engaged in their environment. The child will show an inner motivation to do their work without constant coercing from the teacher.
  • Social Development. MKU students show respect for their teachers, fellow students, and classroom materials. They often work together to solve problems, both academically and during play.
  • Academic Achievement. In an MKU school; each child develops independently and uniquely. The 3-year cycle includes many skills the child will master, with individual progress being noted each day.

** MKU implements a progress tracking software in each classroom. This software is designed to assess the growth and academic progress of each child. This assessment tool creates an individualized plan for each child; the teacher then guides the child to the appropriate materials for mastery of skills.

January 19th, 2017

Posted In: Montessori Education

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Make Your Montessori School Shine

Montessori schools are ideal enterprises for those who want to make a difference. Though managing a Montessori school is very rewarding, it can also be challenging. In order for your school to run smoothy, and for your students to get the most from their education, there is much keep in order. To help you keep your Montessori school at its finest, we’ve put together some helpful tips.

Tip One: Hire Quality Educators

The need for good Montessori educators likely comes at no surprise. But, finding professionals you can count on might be harder than you think. To draw new teachers to your school, maintain open recruitment. When considering a new teacher, check their credentials. Each Montessori educator should carry credentials for the levels they teach. To help your teachers be their best, include a budget for continuing education. Lastly, make sure each classroom is well managed by employing one Montessori educator per room with experience in the given role.

Tip Two: Establish Trusted Administration

The administration within your Montessori school can mean the difference between success and failure. Employ those who are experienced with Montessori education to fill the roles for curriculum coordinator and principle/educational leader. When changes in administration staff occur, work to make sure flow and commitment to Montessori curriculum are upheld. It’s also important to ensure that your administrators have the support they need to do their jobs well, and encourage communication around program development.

Tip Three: Parent Education and Involvement

Keeping parents involved and happy is important for the success of your Montessori school. Provide teacher-parent education programs that help parents understand Montessori values and curriculum. When parents are excited about the benefits of Montessori-style education, students and teachers benefit.

Tip Four: Create a Sound Curriculum and Welcoming Environment

The foundation for success in any Montessori school is a well-planned, Montessori-based curriculum. Work with teachers to develop classrooms that are based on Montessori principles. Include specialty programs such as music, art, and physical education. Group classes according to appropriate age-grouping, such as 2.5-6, 9-12, 12-15, and 15-18. If your educators and students have what they need to build a nurturing environment, your school will thrive.

Tip Five: Assessments

It’s important to stay informed of student progress. Develop a process of reporting how well students perform that is compatible with Montessori principles. You should also implement mandated assessments, without compromising the values Montessori programs uphold. It’s crucial to be able to show how well your students perform, so the integrity of your school and the needs of your students are maintained.

Montessori schools are growing in demand. Caretakers and educators alike are learning about the many benefits of this unique, child-centered method of education. If properly maintained, a Montessori school can thrive, enhancing the lives of its children, staff, and owners.

November 4th, 2016

Posted In: Tips

Our Children and the Importance of Sleep


As a working Mom, I ask myself; is my child getting enough sleep? Wake up at 7:00, get my son up; all ready; out the door to Montessori school by 9:00 am. Normally; we are home by 6:00pm. After dinner, we play and talk (as least as much as you can with a 4 year old). As a working Mom, I get to spend time with my son in the evening. I must confess; 2 hours just doesn’t seem like enough time, so he goes to bed between 8:30-9:00 pm. As a concerned parent; I decided to do some research on how much sleep a child really needs.

Here is what I found on WebMD


1-4 months old: 14-15 hours per day, including naps
4-12 months old: 14 -15 hours per day, including 1 or 2 naps
1-3 years old: 12-14 hours per day, including a nap
3-6 years old: 10-12 hours per day, including a nap

Sleep deprivation can cause behavior-related problems that affect your child’s daily interactions with others. A child’s body and brain need sleep. When their little bodies don’t get enough rest they may feel tired and cranky. They may not be able to think clearly and have a hard time following directions. A school or classroom activity that is normally easy may feel impossible to the child and they may become agitated and disruptive.

Sleep is not only important behaviorally, it is also crucial physically. Researchers agree that if children are sleep deprived, they may not grow and develop fundamentally on task for their age range. You’ve probably had mornings where you’ve sworn your baby got bigger overnight, and you would be right. “Growth hormone is primarily secreted during deep sleep,” says Judith Owens, M.D., director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. Studies show that lack of sleep leads to weakening of the immune system.

You may say, “this is good information; but my child just won’t sleep. My child refuses to sleep when I put him to bed”. Here are some helpful tips on how to help your little ones close their eyes and send them off to dreamland.

  • Have a consistent bedtime routine- Routines are especially important for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Creating a specific routine before bed, such as bath and story time, signals to your child what’s coming next. Knowing what comes next is comforting and relaxing. Before long, your child’s body may automatically start to become sleepy at the beginning of their routine. End the routine with turning the lights down and saying, “goodnight.”
  • Create an ideal sleeping environment- Your child’s room should promote sleeping. It’s best to keep their room dark, quiet, and cool. Some children feel more comfortable with a little light; a nightlight is perfectly acceptable. If they can’t sleep in silence from other parts of the home; use soft soothing music or a fan to create rhythmic, steady sounds.
  • Allow only 2 comfort items- While a stuffed animal may make it easier for your child, too many toys can be considered a distraction.
  • Protect them from their fears- Instead of dismissing bedtime fears, address them. If simple reassurance doesn’t work; try buying a special toy to stand guard at night.
  • TV Time- turn off the TV 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid food and drinks that contain caffeine- The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests children not consume caffeine.

Bottom line: Children who are well rested are better prepared to regulate their emotions, think clearly and enjoy their day!

September 20th, 2016

Posted In: Uncategorized

Montessori Educators: Are They ‘Teachers’ or ‘Guides’?


It may take a moment to spot the teachers within the environment.

The Montessori teacher’s role is quite different from the role played by teachers in many schools. They are generally not the center of attention, and they spend little time giving large group lessons. Their role centers around the preparation and organization of appropriate learning materials to meet the needs and interests of each child in the class. Montessori teachers will normally be found working with one or two children at a time, advising, presenting a new lesson, or quietly observing the class at work. The focus is on children learning, not teachers teaching. Children are considered as distinct individuals in terms of their interests, progress and growth, and preferred learning style. The Montessori teacher is a guide, mentor and friend.

Students will typically be found scattered around the classroom, working alone or with one or two others. The children become so involved in their work; visitors tend to be amazed at the peaceful atmosphere.

Montessori teachers goal is to intrigue the children, so they will come back on their own for further work with the materials. Lessons center around the simplest information necessary for the children to do the work on their own: the name of the materials, its place on the shelf, the ground rules for is use, and what can be done with it.

The teachers present the materials and lessons with precision. They demonstrate an initial exploratory procedure; encouraging the children to continue to explore further on their own. These presentations enable children to investigate and work independently. The goal is for the child to become self-disciplined, able to use the materials and manage the classroom without minimal adult intervention.

Children progress at their own pace, moving on to the next step in each area of learning as they are ready. Initial lessons are introductions, after which the children repeat the exercise over many days, weeks, or months until they attain mastery. Interest leads them to explore variations and extensions inherent within the design of the materials at many levels over the years.

Dr. Montessori believed that teachers should focus on each child as a person, not on the daily lesson plan. Montessori teachers are taught to nurture and inspire the human potential, leading children to ask questions, think for themselves, explore, investigate, and discover. Our ultimate objective is to help the child learn how to learn independently, retaining the curiosity, creativity, and intelligence with which they were born. Montessori teachers do not simply present lessons; they are facilitators, mentors, coaches, and guides. To underscore the very different role played by adults in her schools, Dr. Montessori used the title Directress instead of teacher. In Italian, the word implies the role of the coordinator or administrator of an office or factory. Today, many Montessori schools prefer to call their teachers guides.

  1. Montessori teachers are the dynamic link between children and the Prepared Environment.
  2. They observe their students and interpret their needs.
  3. They are constantly experimenting, modifying the environment to meet each child’s needs and interests, and objectively noting the result.
  4. They prepare an environment meant to facilitate children’s independence and ability to freely select work they find appealing; selecting activities that will appeal to their interests and keeping the environment in perfect condition, adding to it and removing materials as needed.
  5. They carefully evaluate the effectiveness of their work and the design of the environment every day.
  6. They observe and evaluate each child’s individual progress.
  7. They respect and protect their students’ independence. They must know when to step in and set limits or lend a helping hand, and when it is in a child’s best interests for them to step back and not interfere.
  8. They are supportive, offering warmth, security, stability, and non-judgmental acceptance to each child.
  9. They facilitate communication among the children and help the children to learn how to communicate their thoughts to adults.
  10. They interpret the children’s progress and their work in the classroom to parents, the school staff, and the community.
  11. They present clear, interesting and relevant lessons to the children. They attempt to engage the child’s interest and focus on the lessons and activities in the environment.
  12. They model desirable behavior for the children, following the ground-rules of the class, exhibiting a sense of calm, consistency, grace and courtesy, and demonstrating respect for every child.
  13. They are peace educators, consistently working to teach courteous behaviors and conflict
  14. They are diagnosticians who can interpret patterns of growth, development, and behavior in order to better understand the children and make necessary referrals and suggestions to parents.

Sources: Tim Seldin- International Montessori Council- Anne Burke Neubert, in A Way Of Learning (1973), listed the following elements in the special role of the Montessori teacher

September 20th, 2016

Posted In: Uncategorized

Test Scores and Montessori Education

Starting a Montessori school takes a lot of preparation, so you probably have a lot of questions. Some of the most common questions asked by educators and parents involve testing. What kind of testing is required? How well do Montessori students perform when compared to other children? We will answer these questions and more.

Montessori students and standardized testing

Not all Montessori schools are required to administer the same standardized tests as required in public schools. Some public Montessori schools administer these tests, others do not. Some private Montessori schools also participate in standardized testing, especially if these tests are required by the schools into which their students will transition.
As for scoring, studies show that children who attend or had attended a Montessori school perform as well or better than non-Montessori students.

Montessori students who transition to public school

Some Montessori schools offer education for preschool and elementary children only. These students are usually very well prepared for standardized testing. Studies show these children are very successful academically and socially after transitioning from a Montessori school when compared to children with other early education backgrounds. These studies show more creative writing skills, higher math test scores, and a greater ability to handle difficult social situations.

SAT scores and college acceptance rates

Montessori schools typically report that their students are accepted into the colleges of their choice. This is true for a number of reasons, such as impressive social and community achievements and exemplary essay writing. Montessori students also perform very well on SAT’s, often out-shining students without Montessori background.

Research involving Montessori student test scores is ongoing. All children are skilled in different ways, and as with all forms of education; some will have more difficulty than others. One thing fairly consistent in Montessori students that cannot be measured, is their strong social skills, a positive determined attitude, and confidence for tackling obstacles in life. For these reasons, Montessori students are often very successful, because they have the inner tools and desire for achievement.

September 2nd, 2016

Posted In: Benefits of the Montessori Method

Separation Anxiety Tips for Preschoolers, Toddlers, and Their Parents

sep-anxIt’s the night before your child’s first day of preschool, you have picked out their uniform, undergarments, socks, and shoes. You are getting ready to tuck them in, read them a bed time story and kiss them goodnight. You are going through the motions just like every other night, however tonight you have a knot in your stomach and your mind is going a million miles a second thinking, “I hope my baby doesn’t cry all day,” “I hope I don’t cry,” “I hope they have a good day,” “I hope they make lots of friends,” “I hope their teacher is nice,” and “I hope they know I will come back for them.” These thoughts are perfectly normal and educating yourself and your child will make a world of difference to ease your “parenting” mind.

Separation anxiety is often caused by the fear of the unknown. The first few weeks of a Montessori preschool are always a time of adjustment, not only for the child, but also, for the parents and teachers. Saying “Good-Bye” to your child can be heart wrenching for both of you. Children tend to feed off our anxieties. Try your best to be strong and positive. Montessori teachers and parents have come together to help us “New” Montessori parents out there with a few tips to help ease the transition into preschool for you and your child.

  • Make Your Good-Bye’s Prompt and Positive: As a parent, the best thing you can do is give your child a kiss and hug, say “I Love You” and assure them you will be back to pick them up.
  • Have a Good-Bye Routine: You should try to have a steady routine in the morning. Montessori parents who establish a consistent goodbye routine usually have better luck with successful goodbyes.
  • Make a “Comfort Bag”: A comfort bag consists of a few items from home that will remind your child of home and will offer comfort during anxious times. Some items to include would be family photos, a favorite book, a stuffed animal, a favorite small blanket, etc.
  • Trust Your Child’s Teacher: Montessori Preschool teachers have made it their priority and profession to teach. They love children and have a special place in their heart along with extensive training to help ease your child into the new classroom, as well as creative strategies specifically designed to help children with separation anxiety. It is very important to communicate with your child’s teacher. You can always ask your child’s Montessori teacher to step in to help with goodbye’s when you give them a sign that you are ready to go.
  • Acknowledge Your Child’s Feelings: It is so very important to understand and acknowledge your child’s feelings. Let them know that it’s okay to be sad when you leave but remind them they will have a GREAT DAY and you will be back soon to hear all about the fun things they did. Learning to cope with sadness is an important learning process for your child.
  • Always Be on Time (My personal favorite): Children tend to become more anxious when being rushed. Giving yourself extra time in the morning will put you, in a calmer state of mind as well as allow your child the ability to mentally establish a routine without chaos, and lessen the chances of separation anxiety. It is also so important to set a pick up time and stick to it. If you are late, it can cause your child even more anxiety which can make the days to come more difficult.

Separation anxiety is a phase, and though it may be the most difficult thing you and your child have to go through, it is perfectly normal and this too shall pass. Good Luck Parents! Try to get a good night’s sleep, because when you pick your child up they will be talking to you all night long about how much they loved their day at their New Montessori Preschool.

August 19th, 2016

Posted In: Uncategorized

The Real Results of the Montessori Method

The Montessori method;  is an academic and social philosophy teaching through innovative structured educational materials, social skills, and personal development techniques. The Montessori learning environment cultivates achievement through independence; personal effort and character versus measurements of comparison.  The North American Montessori Teacher’s Association; ( NAMTA) estimates there are 4500 Montessori schools in the United States and over 22,000 worldwide. At the heart of the Montessori method is the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori who believed in developing the character of a child in addition to academically educating the child.

The Verdict

Since the inception of  Montessori, there have been observational studies and tests comparatively in the educational system as a whole.  The Montessori philosophy has  been studied and researched in depth among its educational peers; comparative teaching styles and methods.  In evaluating  the research; the first point that stood out is the students that were Montessori educated had a greater creative advantage that had been nourished and cultivated. Often times within traditional education, we see a race to the finish that does not allow for talents and skills to be optimized. The Montessori philosophy implements a nurturing;  thriving environment where these natural abilities are able to flourish.

The national statistics for ITBS and MAT testing have shown a significant percentage of students within Montessori schools to be ranked inside of the top percentiles in the nation. Scientific studies and statistics have increased awareness of the benefits of a Montessori learning environment. Several studies have indicated the development of  the student’s social graces and courtesies is optimal as the percentages rise with driven results.  Respect and a non-competitive environment is fostered in a Montessori classroom;  becoming a way of life.

Statistics show students who have a Montessori education have been proven to:

  • Achieve higher grades
  • Hold literary prominence
  • Thrive with creative endeavors
  • Have heightened social skills
  • Show minimal behavioral issues
  • Display increased awareness of surroundings
  • Demonstrate eighty percent higher academic achievement
  • Achieve eighty-nine percent increased chance of college entrance
  • Seventy percent (70%) more likely to achieve success in chosen career
  • Forty-five percent (45%) higher likelihood of recognition in creative endeavors

August 10th, 2016

Posted In: About MKU Franshise Opportunity

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