The Magic of Green

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In art, the color green symbolizes growth and transformation. In nature, it is evident in the way fragile yet strong green stems emerge from the ground in the Spring or how green buds blossom on the trees, signs of more to come, of growth and life. For one three-year-old boy, the color green and its symbolism took on a personal meaning. It was my first year of teaching art at Brooksfield. One of my students, James, a quiet three- year- old, had a favorite color: green. Whenever I offered a colorful selection of oil pastels, he would use a green one to draw a spiny dinosaur. He would paint green mountains. He would choose green yarn for weaving projects. His artwork was usually on green paper. We all knew he loved green. A few weeks into the year, I was teaching a lesson on primary colors. We used white paper for...
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Brooksfield Nurtures the Need for Nature

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Let's face it: We know that being outside provides a plethora of benefits -- but factors such as weather, busy schedules and lack of outdoor opportunities keep us from spending as much time outdoors as we know we should. Experts agree that spending time outdoors delivers a range of physical and mental benefits. According to author and clinical psychologist, Kay Redfield Jamison, time spent outdoors stimulates creativity, reduces anxiety, promotes problem-solving and leadership skills, helps children recognize patterns, increases vocabulary and improves immune systems.  Brooksfield's charming five-acre campus provides an outdoor classroom where children profit on a daily basis from opportunities to engage with nature: nature walks, spontaneous outdoor investigation, art classes in the gazebo or in the garden, wildlife observation, playground time and gardening - a chance to literally reap what they sow.  "On Brooksfield's peaceful trail, we ask the children to pay attention to the sounds they hear: birds,...
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Before Montessori School: Bringing Baby Up the Montessori Way

Many parents wish to incorporate Montessori methods into their child's life before he or she turns three and is eligible to be enrolled in  Montessori School . Here are a few things mothers and fathers might consider doing in order to begin their babies' Montessori lifestyle right away.  Freedom and Independence Offer your baby freedom to explore his or her surroundings. Exploration leads to discovery and learning. Create a safe environment for your little one by covering outlets, anchoring tall furniture to the walls, and putting sharp (or otherwise unsafe) objects out of reach. Place your child's mattress on the floor and forgo the crib. This gives baby the opportunity to get up and play in the morning without needing to call out for mom and dad. Baby gates, play yards, and other "baby cages" should be avoided whenever possible. Speak To Them Talk to your little guy or girl as...
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After Montessori School: What Now?

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Your child went to a Montessori preschool. They attended a  Montessori school  for kindergarten. Unfortunately, your time with a quality Montessori education is running out. As a parent who is genuinely hopeful that your child will continue to love learning, approach learning challenges independently, and be able to learn at their own pace throughout their educational career, you can't help but wonder how you're going to take that Montessori style into their later years at school. Keep your child in their current school.  Many Montessori kindergartens are linked to other schools, from private schools that take them through their elementary school years to other institutions. If you want to continue your child's Montessori education or maintain their current philosophy of education for as long as possible, the best way to do it is to keep them in their current school. Those schools are designed with a Montessori philosophy at the forefront...
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What is Brooksfield's Anthropology Express Program?

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  Here in Brooksfield’s Upper School, students are busy preparing for their annual Anthropology Express!* production. Through the lens of the performing arts, a culture area is explored using scene work, movement, texts and songs. By studying traditions, myths, belief systems, relationships to landscape and cultural history, students develop heightened awareness of diverse cultures and appreciation for our global neighbors. This creative laboratory approach utilizes discussion, enactment, brainstorming and rehearsal, yielding a fully realized theatrical production each spring. Ancient Greece / Minoan Crete is our culture area this cycle, with scenes underway depicting Odysseus & the Sirens, Poseidon’s Ocean, Demeter & Persephone, and appearances by Artemis, Apollo, Hermes, and a host of other characters. Our finale includes chanted poetic text translated from The Hymns of Orpheus. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the Upper School’s production at an all-school assembly on Thursday, May 12, at 10:30 AM. *Anthropology Express!...
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Next Brooksfield Parent Coffee: Emotional Intelligence February 4, 2016

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Brooksfield Alumni Parent, Francine Ronis, is presenting a workshop on Emotional Intelligence.  Francine has done several mindful parenting workshops here at Brooksfield.  Her workshops are full of information and great ideas to practice at home.  Below are the details about her next workshop here at Brooksfield!  Check out her website at  http://francineronis.org Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some people believe the EQ is more important than IQ, however many of us never develop their EQ and don't know how. Learn the main tenants of EQ, why it's important, and how to develop a higher EQ for yourself and your child. Join alumni parent and child/family therapist, Francine Ronis for our next Parent Coffee at 9:30, February 4 at the Brooksfield School, 1830 Kirby Road, McLean, VA 703-356-5437. Admission is free, but please RSVP.

Consider These 25 Reasons To Keep Your Child in Montessori Through the Kindergarten Year

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Consider the following 25 reasons to keep your child in a Montessori school through the kindergarten year: After having a child in Montessori school for a few years, many parents face the decision of whether or not to transition to a more traditional elementary school. Consider. . . . 1. Some students, even social ones, find transitions daunting. Keeping them within a smaller circle of peers at least until first grade could better prepare them for interacting with other children. 2. Public kindergarten might prove boring for students who have experienced a more liberal, less structured Montessori education at this point in their academic journey. 3. Students who transfer from Montessori to a kindergarten need time to adjust to a new group of peers, new teachers, and a totally different method of schooling. 4. Many kindergarten programs require less of kindergarteners. So students in transition find themselves repeating and relearning concepts...
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Three Books Every Montessori School Parent Should Read

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Making the choice to send your child to  Montessori School  is a rewarding one. Your child benefits from a nurturing, fun, and child-centered environment during the day. Did you know that you can create a Montessori based environment in your home too? These books will help you to understand how to implement the methodology your child benefits from at school in your home. Teaching Montessori In The Home- The Preschool Years, by Elizabeth G. Hainstock emphasizes the importance of the first six years of life. This book is a guide for parents to bring the Montessori methodology into the home and apply it to helping their child learn every day tasks. Part one of the book provides a bio of Maria Montessori and an overview of her method. It also reviews the stages of childhood development and how the method applies to each stage. Part two presents the step by step...
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Montessori Kindergarten vs. Traditional Kindergarten: How Do They Compare?

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It's a major milestone for parents and children alike: the start of kindergarten. But making the decision about where to send your children for the beginning of their educational career is often stressful for parents. With so many choices available today, how do you know which type of school is best for your children? Increasingly, many parents are recognizing the benefits of a Montessori education for their children. What exactly is a  Montessori school  and how does a Montessori kindergarten classroom differ from a traditional kindergarten classroom? Let's consider some of the differences below: The role of the teacher. In a traditional classroom, the teacher is typically viewed as an authority figure; she is the center of the classroom who is in charge of controlling what and how students learn. In a Montessori classroom, the teacher is viewed as a guide. Her role is unobtrusive; she observes as children work together and...
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Thank The Bees For Your Thanksgiving Dinner!

  As you gather around the Thanksgiving table there are so many things to be thankful for.   Remember to thank the bees!  The yummy food you put on your plate is made possible by the bees  (honey, bumble and solitary bees) and other pollinators such as butterflies and flies.  For example:   1.   A salad :  lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onions 2.   The veggies :  roasted squash, beans, peas, brussel sprouts, potatoes, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips and turnips, and the cranberries in the sauce  3.   The desserts :  the pumpkin in the pie and the spices that make it yummy (cloves, allspice, nutmeg), apples an apple tart and tangerines.   Who wants turkey without the rest of the good stuff?  When giving thanks this holiday, remember to thank a bee.  Happy Thankgsiving from our family to yours!    
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