Singing With Your Kids

Brooksfield Album Two for Pass-0020
  Both kids have shoes and coats on, backpacks and lunches in toe, and they have finally been buckled into the car. Somehow we made it through another morning and we are on our way to school, remarkably within the boundaries of ‘on time.’ I’ve just put the car in reverse and have begun to guide the car out of the driveway when it starts. “Sing the banana name song, please!!” two voices shriek out from the back seat, almost in unison. And the shrieking continues until I find it within me to raise my voice above theirs and ask what name they’d like to hear. For those not privy to our family lingo, the banana name song is more traditionally known as The Name Game song. It goes way back and I’m sure you’ve heard it, and probably sung it, at least once. But here it is if you need...
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Three Essential Back to School Tips for Montessori Children

As August nears its end, fall is just around the corner. And with that, it's time to return to school. For children and parents alike, this is an exciting time, when children are able to enter the next chapter of their educational journey.For the 5300 Montessori programs within the United States, this is particularly resonant. Montessori programs take a different approach to learning, encouraging children to engage with learning on their own terms, in a collaborative environment that fosters both intellectual and emotional growth.Here are three handy back to school tips for Montessori children and parents alike. With these tips in your pocket, your child's year of Montessori education will be both exciting and the learning experience of their life! Allow Your Children to Learn on Their OwnMaria Montessori opened the first of many Montessori programs in 1907; the educational program was designed to help and enable children from all walks...
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Three Ways that Montessori Will Benefit Your Child

The Montessori education was created to help children succeed in their own way, encouraging children to learn through their own natural and creative processes, and absorbing knowledge from their surrounding environment.In the early 20th century, Maria Montessori created the Montessori curriculum in order to cultivate a school environment that encompassed the needs of every child, including those who were economically disadvantaged and had learning disabilities. Today, those fundamental tenets remain true. To date, more than 5,000 private schools employ Montessori programs, and the curriculum held in place is helping children grow and learn in ways they never thought possible.So, what about Montessori is so special? Here are three ways that Montessori can enrich your child's life: The Montessori Method Inspires CreativityAs part of the Montessori curriculum, children are permitted to choose their own activities and means of learning and understanding the lesson. Finding their own educational way inspires creativity within children....
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Enjoying the Deer and Having a Vegetable Garden Too.

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  Herds of white tailed deer have become the bane of the suburban gardener.  We admire their graceful gaits and darling fawns, and in winter there is nothing more magical than seeing them frolicking in a mid-January snowfall.  But come spring, their charm quickly wears thin as they descend upon just about everything gardeners plant.  Flamboyant azaleas, glossy tulips, budding hostas and tender tomato plants are all fair game.  The Brooksfield School in suburban McLean has created a simple, inexpensive solution to this problem.  Nestled on five acres of woodland, Brooksfield conducts an organic gardening program to engage their young learners in a year round gardening experience.  Using simple raised beds they have created a series of ‘kinder gardens’ in which they grow a variety of heirloom squash, jack-o-lantern pumpkins, beans, tomatoes, herbs and popcorn.  However, their location makes their gardens prime targets for the deer who live in McLean’s suburban...
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Giving Parents a Break With Summer Camp

summer camps for elementary school students
For many parents, sending their children to camp is an inevitable part of family life. Summer camps for elementary school students are a great way to get children to go outside and be active instead of sitting in front of the TV all summer. Sending children away to camp gives parents a much-needed break, too. Finding the right summer camp for elementary or middle-school age children may take a little work, but the benefits to your child are indisputable. Many summer camps for elementary school students place an emphasis on the arts, with music and theatre programs and arts and crafts. Studies have shown that creating and viewing art positively impacts a child's emotional, social, and intellectual development. The benefits of keeping music in schools and at home can begin even earlier: children who sing or play music regularly before kindergarten do better in math and reading, have higher self-esteem and...
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How Montessori Schools Promote Learning

Every parent wants the very best for their children, especially when it comes to education. While many parents wait until college to begin looking around for particularly top-notch facilities, others take a more proactive route, and try to find the preschool that will give their children the best advantage in life. For many parents, the best advantage often comes from sending their children to a Montessori school.A preschool Montessori curriculum can be very inclusive and innovative. Montessori children are exposed to letters, numbers, and shapes in preschool, and are encouraged to learn at their own pace. By allowing the children access to activities of their own choosing, private Montessori schools encourage the development of self-discipline and social skills. Montessori children have been shown to possess higher motivation and more undivided interest, and place greater levels of importance on their schoolwork than their non-Montessori peers.Parents who are concerned about keeping music in...
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Ways to Encourage Thankfulness this Week

Ways to Encourage Thankfulness this Week During my everyday, there are a handful of phrases that I may as well record myself saying and play on repeat. Gems like “Put on your shoes.” and “Put your toys away.” and “Be nice to your brother/sister!” escape my lips more times than I care to think about. But the one that seems to come out the most? “Say thank you.” People seem to do things for my kids pretty often—things like hold doors for them or offer them free stickers. I do things for them all the time. They even do things for each other. I want them to be polite, to learn the proper social graces they’ll need as adults, so I encourage them to say thank you. But encouraging our kids to say thank you is just that, it’s a lesson about social graces. Lessons about real gratitude go much deeper...
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Compassion: what it is and why it’s important

Compassion: what it is and why it’s important If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~Dali Lama When I first heard that Brooksfield’s theme this year is compassion, I was pleased, impressed and, to be honest, a little surprised. When it comes to the qualities that I believe are important to plant in young minds and hearts early, the ones that I, without a doubt, want my children to know well, compassion is definitely on the list. But it’s a tricky one, isn’t it? Gratitude, kindness, politeness, all of these sort of roll of our tongues as we guide our children through hellos and pleases and thank yous. Teaching these comes naturally as we coach social interactions every day. Compassion, however, goes several levels deeper. It’s not a quality we can easily reinforce by a social grace or quick phrase. It...
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Feel Better About Dinner

    What’s for dinner in your house tonight? If you’re not quite sure, I promise you’re in good company! Dinner: a time when we want everyone to come together to pull off a meal during the busiest hour of the day. It’s a perennial family paint point. Everyone struggles with some aspect, be it getting everyone to sit down for a meal at the same time or getting the pickier family members to give the green foods a try. We struggle with all of the above here but have picked up a few tips and tricks along our roller coaster ride with family dinner. Here are some things we do in our home that help us feel better about our nightly meals. Plan a menu I have an on-again, off-again relationship with meal planning. When the school year begins and I fall into full on nesting mode, I dutifully sit...
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Getting Back Into The School Rhythm

If you peeked into my kitchen at about 7:30am any morning last week, you would have found me lazily moving about, sipping my coffee, slowly fixing breakfasts, acting as if we had the entire long day ahead of us. If you then peeked back in at 8am, you would have found me scrambling to get shoes on feet, gathering forms and lunch boxes and, most importantly, people, and breathlessly pushing us all out the door. Somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00  it would occur to me that summer is over, school is in session, and a whole new routine needs to get moving. That’s how it is this time every year. We get so comfortable in our summer swing that adjusting to start times and end times, drop offs and pick ups, is rough. It all feels so uncomfortable and unnatural at first. Of course, we all know that by the end...
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