Twin Parks Montessori Schools - Preschool Manhattan, Upper West Side, New York City (NYC)

Kathy’s Insights

Insights on the Montessori method and Early Childhood Education from Dr. Kathy Roemer

Kathy’s Insights

Why do we need handwriting skills?

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Many of you have heard me say that we must limit screen time for our toddlers and early childhood children.  The ideal would consist of no screen time under 2 years of age and no more than 30 minutes for 3 and 4 year old children!

Many schools are moving away from teaching handwriting after 1st grade and focusing on keyboarding skills.  This is a mistake.  The New York Times published an article on June 2, 2014 titled, What’s Lost as Handwriting FadesRead it here.

03WRIT-master495What is lost when we skimp on handwriting skills?  According to psychologists and neuroscientists, there is a link between handwriting and broader educational development.  Children learn to read more quickly wen they first learn to write by hand.

Montessori always taught writing skills before reading, or simultaneously.  When learning sounds that letters represent, we use sandpaper letters.  Students trace the letters while hearing the sound and seeing the letter.  The tracing reinforces muscular memory.  Hearing, seeing, touching, use three senses to learn letters.  Experts say that handwriting has links to working memory – a skill linked to long term success in school.

Plus if were are not writing when would we get a chance to doodle? And you all know that doodling can aid a person’s memory by expending enough energy to keep one from daydreaming.  But that’s a topic for a future blog!

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Ceramics or Plastics – what do you use?

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Twin Parks Montessori Schools use real glass or ceramics table ware whenever possible.  We introduce an open glass to our infants as soon as they are ready to hold on.  A picture of one of our students was featured in an article in DNAinfo New York.

 

Central Park Montessori Student prepares for lunch using real table ware.

Central Park Montessori Student prepares for lunch using real table ware.

Most parents are using glass and ceramics to prevent harmful chemicals from plastics which could potentially leach into foods.  We want to allow children to have responsibility for authentic experiences with with hands and minds.  What do you use?

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Keeping Children Safe in Times that Don’t Feel Safe

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In early childhood children depend on adults for their physical, social,
sexual and emotional safety. The lessons children begin to learn from their parents, in school, and from their own observations and experiences help them develop behaviors, feelings and attitudes, both about themselves and their environment, that builds their good judgment. It is this good judgment that helps to keep them safe as they get older. Let’s come together to discuss the thinking, trends and behaviors that keep children safe and build resiliency.
On April 29th Twin Parks Montessori School hosted a presentation by Fern Fisher, MA. MS, LCSW.  Fern is a social worker specializing in early childhood mental health.
Please listen to the audio recording of Fern Fisher’s presentation.

 

Keeping Children Safe – Fern Fisher from Twin Parks on Vimeo.

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Advice for the Next Big Step

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During this time of year, everyone knows someone who is graduating from high school or college or a professional program.  In two weeks, my son will be graduating from the School of Visual Arts with an MFA.  I wonder who chooses the person who does the commencement address.  It is not always a former graduate or teacher or politician.

While reading a Brain Pickings newsletter that a colleague sent to me for another reason, I saw a posting from Pratt (my other son’s alma mater) on the side bar.  It is a commencement address given by Patti Smith.  Some of you may remember this poet, philosopher and singer from decades ago.  I found it very interesting and wanted to share it with you.

PS. The video is not the best, but the audio is great.

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Grit: Ongoing Converations at Twin Parks Montessori School

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Twin Parks Montessori School’s Education Team, including all teachers are talking about the predictors for long term success in schools for children today. Our previous conversations included working memory. Now our thoughts and conversations are focused on “grit”. Grit is the ability to work hard for the long haul. It is learning to wait, following through, trying hard. Living life like a marathon rather than a short run. Watch this talk by Angela Lee Duckworth about the key to success: Grit!

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How can we develop future leaders?

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Do you consider yourself a leader?  If so, how did you become one? What did you experience in your childhood that helped you become a leader?

While reading an article by Kathy Caprino in Forbes online, titled, 7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders, I discovered some ways that I hindered my own children while they were young. It is still hard for me as a parent to be aware of my adult children’s disappointments or struggles without wanting  to “fix” or help with their challenges.

Quoting Caprino, here are some things we should do to promote leadership in our children:

1. Talk over the issues you wish you would’ve known about adulthood.
2. Allow them to attempt things that stretch them and even let them fail.
3. Discuss future consequences if they fail to master certain disciplines.
4. Aid them in matching their strengths to real-world problems.
5. Furnish projects that require patience, so they learn to delay gratification.
6. Teach them that life is about choices and trade-offs; they can’t do everything.
7. Initiate (or simulate) adult tasks like paying bills or making business deals.
8. Introduce them to potential mentors from your network.
9. Help them envision a fulfilling future, and then discuss the steps to get there.
10. Celebrate progress they make toward autonomy and responsibility.

Take a look at this video Stuart Brown: Play is more than just fun

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Dr. Virginia Varga Speaks to Parents

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On November 11, 2013, Dr. Virginia Varga came to Twin Parks Montessori Schools and worked with all of the infant and toddler teachers. The main topic was concepts that we teach our youngest students. Dr. Varga then spent the evening with parents. She spoke about what children learn. Dr. Varga also answered a myriad of questions from the parents in attendance. Her presentation was audio recorded and posted on vimeo. Please listen at your leisure.

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What Does Your Child Want To Be When S/he Grows Up?

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Great question! When I was asked this question as a child my answers varied. Sometimes I wanted to be a detective, sometimes a teacher, all the time surrounded by people who cared about one another. Well, I did become an archaeologist (a detective of sorts) and I did become a teacher. Does it always work out that way? What did you want to be when you grew up? Ask your children that question and let’s compare notes!

In the meantime, watch this 13 year old dude talk about his aspirations!

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