Teaching Adapting to Students
Young children are full of energy, and are constantly on the move. When they reach the age of attending preschool or elementary school, many parents hear comments from educators that children have a hard time sitting still and doing seatwork. While some may be quick to assign a medical label, consider the possibility that the child may just be a kinesthetic learner. A Montessori school can help assess your child's learning style and adapt to it appropriately.
There are 4 main types of learning styles. Reader-writers perform the best with traditional teaching methods, as they truly enjoy getting lost in a book or writing a story. Assign them a packet of worksheets and they are truly in their element. Visual learners need images, graphics, maps, charts, and other visual aids to process information. Auditory learners do best when they can hear and speak about what they are learning. Reading out loud and talking through math problems will help them excel. And then there's the kinesthetic learners. Often, these children appear to struggle in the classroom setting.
How can you tell if your child is a kinesthetic learner? They probably move a lot, and enjoy physical activities, like sports, running, riding bikes, and building things. You might be told they have a short attention span, or are hyperactive. Sometimes, these children are frequently reminded to keep their hands to themselves, because they tend to need to touch other people and objects. When sitting at a desk, they tend to tap their pencil, drum on their desk, or constantly shake their legs. They may complain about sedentary activities like reading, and writing spelling words, but are extremely coordinated and love to try new things.
Kinesthetic learners use their small and large muscle groups to process information. Often referred to as hands-on learners, they do best when they can move their body while learning. Parents and teachers who recognize this will save the child from a lot of frustration, and those who allow and encourage movement will see the child succeed.
Here are some simple ways to allow a child movement within the classroom (or at home):
- offer a crunchy snack while reading, like carrot sticks or apple slices
- allow the child to stand while working
- provide a number line for simple math functions
- assign creative projects rather than worksheets
- toss a ball back and forth while learning or reviewing information
- letting a child type their work on a computer rather than writing
- assessing learning in creative ways other than written work, such as acting out a historical scene, or demonstrating a scientific principle
Teachers and parents can encourage kinesthetic learners to march or walk in place while studying spelling words. They can jump rope or skip while practicing math facts. Vocabulary words can be reviewed while trying to toss a basketball in the hoop. Students who have other learning styles would struggle immensely to concentrate while doing these activities, but for kinesthetic learners, it helps not only learning, but behavior.
Obviously there are times when children have to be still and listen. When children are required to sit, break lessons down in smaller sessions, and encourage movement before and afterwards. Also, provide quiet, non-distracting movement options at their desk, such as a stress ball, or textured pencils.
If you have a busy child who is struggling in school, consider the possibility that he or she may learn differently than other children, and may need educators who are willing to adapt. A child-centered approach is one of the main tenets of Montessori education. Students are taught in a way that works for them, instead of requiring them to try to adapt to the traditional school methodology. If you live in the McLean area, and would like more information, contact us.
Starting Kindergarten in a Montessori School Prepares and Maximizes Your Child
The Montessori curriculum is a great way to give your child a head start in their early education and later on in life. Beginning as early as three years of age, your child can be encouraged to explore their own independence, discover their freedom within appropriate limits, and learn an appreciation for their own natural psychological, physical, and social abilities. These skills can be valuable tools in their early development that will pay great dividends for them as they continue to learn and explore throughout their younger years.
Consider the following seven substantial benefits your child can receive when given the gift of a Montessori kindergarten environment.
- A Cooperative Play Environment – Rather than the traditional classroom setting where the teacher directs play among all students, a Montessori classroom encourages cooperative play by letting the kids guide the activities. This is proven to be a great method for teaching kids valuable social skills that involve sharing and respecting each other.
- Self-Inspired Learning – Everything in the classroom is centered around the children. All the physical tools, playful toys, and learning objects are placed within easy reach, and the furniture is setup so that kids can use them comfortably. By having everything within their reach and geared to their specific needs, kids are enabled to learn at their own pace. This way, your child increases their own knowledge when they are mentally and physically ready to do so.
- A Natural Path to Creativity – Because kids are empowered to choose their own activities, they end up enjoying the process rather than focusing too much on the end result, which can lead to frustration if they don't produce their desired outcome. This is a primary reason why teachers serve more as guides than directors in a Montessori environment. The teacher is there more to guide your child through the process, rather than direct an appropriate outcome. What all this amounts to is the children end up enjoying the process so much that creativity is a natural and almost unavoidable result.
- A Focus on Real Activities – A Montessori Kindergarten experience focuses on real activities, rather than abstract thoughts. In other words, kids perform tasks based on real skills that involve language, math, culture and practical life lessons. Teachers also encourage children to focus on their task at hand, and discourage interruptions or any other forms of distraction.
- Teaching Self-Control – Through the implementation of valuable ground rules, kids learn self-discipline and emotional control at a young age, which serves them well in developing crucial social skills later on. In addition to teachers imposing the ground rules, other students are also encouraged to impose them when appropriate as well.
- Order in The Classroom – Everything in the learning environment has an assigned place. All the objects must be returned by the children to their proper place when activities are completed. This discipline teaches your child the importance of good organization and contributes to your child's inherent desire for orderly surroundings. This will facilitate creativity even further because less time is spent on removing or working around clutter, and more time is used on the task at hand.
- Enhanced Skill Set – Previous studies have concluded that Montessori Kindergarteners perform better in math and reading than their public school counterparts. While this may seem like a relatively minor thing at such a young age, the value of giving your child a head start cannot be overstated. By introducing your child to the advantage of these enhanced skills so early, they can quickly latch on to more challenging opportunities that may present themselves as their education continues.
Montessori Kindergarten Schools are available in many areas nationwide. If you live in the Mclean, VA area, please contact us at The Brooksfield School for more information on our Montessori education from pre-K all the way up to fourth grade.
Montessori School Highlights
Montessori school is a foreign concept to many parents. They understand how traditional preschools and kindergartens work--after all, they likely attended them themselves. Understanding how a Montessori education differs from a more traditional approach, however, can seriously impact the decisions that you make regarding your child's early education.
Montessori school will help your child develop a lifelong love of learning. Traditional schools tend to discourage children from that enjoyment from their very earliest days in the classroom. When they're required to sit down behind a desk each day, spending most of their class time finishing worksheets, these students find themselves disengaged, disinterested, and longing for the day to be over. In a Montessori classroom, students aren't trapped behind desks. Instead, they're able to explore multi-sensory forms of learning and engage their senses to fully embrace the educational process.
In a Montessori classroom, your child will be given the tools they need to learn how to explore further. Many children never learn how to seek out information on their own. If it's not presented to them by a teacher, preferably either in lecture or book format, they're probably never going to find the information. Montessori classrooms, on the other hand, encourage taking that learning to the next level. Your child will, simply put, learn how to truly learn, rather than just absorbing information that's been presented by a teacher.
Montessori classrooms encourage hands-on learning. Students have plenty of opportunities to dig into the task at hand and learn more about the world around them. They'll engage their senses, stay active throughout the school day, and learn through play whenever possible. In many ways, Montessori learning is more age-appropriate learning. Preschool and early elementary school-aged children simply don't have the development necessary to sit in a desk all day. They need to be able to move around, get their hands dirty, and try out multiple different learning styles as they adapt to the style that works best for them.
Montessori classrooms let students work at a pace that's appropriate for them. Whether your student is a little ahead of the curve of a little behind, a Montessori classroom is a great place for them. In a Montessori classroom, the students are able to learn at their own pace. They aren't held back while waiting for the majority of the class to catch up or forced to move on to a new task before they're ready. Instead, they can work at the pace that works for them. Many Montessori students find, as a result, that they have both a more solid understanding of the material and a better grasp of when they fully comprehend a subject.
Your child will learn what they're good at. Because a Montessori education offers more opportunity for individual exploration, your child will be able to fully explore their own skills and take the time to develop them further. Instead of being restricted by the interests, attitudes, and skills of their classmates, your child will be able to take their own unique gifts and learn more about them. That doesn't mean that they won't ever have to do the things that they're bad at, though! A Montessori education is a well-rounded one that provides students with all the building blocks they will need later in the educational process.
For many young students, a Montessori education is a fantastic foundation that will carry them a long way in life. The long-term benefits are incomparable and well worth the extra effort in the classroom. If you're thinking about Montessori school for your child, it's time to take the next step. Contact us for more information about what a Montessori education can do for your child.