Preschool vs. Daycare

When evaluating a place for your child, you should consider more than the facility name or classification. For example, some daycare facilities may call themselves a preschool, but not have qualified teachers or appropriate materials. You may also encounter a preschool that does little more than a daycare would. So, you should evaluate each facility based on criteria important to you. Here are some things to consider:

1. A large portion of your child’s brain development takes place takes place during the early years of life. So, it is important that they not only be in a safe location, but also a stimulating one.

2. At this age, only so much can be learned in a large group. Smaller class sizes allow each child more one-on-one time with teachers. At this age children are at all different levels and progress at different rates. It’s important for children to have teachers that can offer a wide rage of appropriate materials and instruction.

3. A quite, peaceful environment is possible and important for a good daycare or preschool experience. This reduces stress and increases enjoyment for the child.

4. The facility should offer several options for your child’s schedule. For example, some may attend three half days, while others may attend full time to accommodate working parents. Don’t make assumptions on the cost based on whether it is a preschool or daycare.

5. Finally, children need a wide open space outdoors and time to explore it.

Summer Enrichment Activities

Are you looking for something fun to do with your child this Summer? Try some of these activities:

Literacy Development at Home

Article from the April 2014 issue of Canton Life:
As teachers, we are often asked by parents: “What can I do at home to help my child? I read to my child every night, but I want to know what else I can do.”
Here are ten things you can try:

1. Play with letters and sounds: This helps children make the letter/sound connection. “Let’s bounce the ball and say /b/ every time it hits the floor.” Or “What does cat start with?”
2. Play word games: “How many syllables are in the word baby? Let’s clap it out.” “Let’s play a word game. I am thinking of glasses: the ones you drink from and the ones you use to see. Can you think of another word that has two different meanings?”
3. Hearing and creating rhymes: Research shows the repetition of rhymes teaches children how language works and builds memory capability. “Can you think of a word that rhymes with car?”
4. Sing the nursery rhymes together: Nursery rhymes are short, easy to repeat, and build language confidence.
5. Talk in whole sentences: At this age, children can understand more than they can produce back to you, so baby talk is not necessary.
6 .Have face-to-face conversations: Limit screen time and increase talk time. Tell your child a short story about what life was like when you were a child while looking through a photo album.
7. Ask open ended questions: Choose topics that interest your child. Respond, listen, and ask additional questions, going back and forth more than once.
8. Expose your child to new words: Read many different genres of books. However, if your child wants to read a favorite book over and over, this is also beneficial since they can predict what will happen.
9 .Count: “How many words are in this sentence?” “How many letters in the word_____?” “How many vowels are in the word_____?”
10. Exposure to the world around you: Taking your child many places (museums, plays, walks in the woods) gives them context to help interpret and comprehend what they are reading.

What Parents Need To Know

Article from the February 2014 issue of Canton Life:

Early childhood development drives success in school and life. A critical time to shape productivity is from birth to age 5, when the brain develops rapidly to build the foundation of cognitive and character skills necessary for success in school, health, career and life. An early Montessori education fosters cognitive skills along with attentiveness, motivation, self-control, and sociability.

“There are 700 synapses formed per second in children under 3! This is an amazing time in a preschooler’s life”, said Laura Bertsch, Director of Children’s Garden Montessori in Canton. Her staff recently attended a workshop entitled “How Brain Science Supports Montessori.”

Montessori preschool can help a child in many ways:

School has become much more academic than when most parents attended. Testing, even in kindergarten, is so rigorous that you want the children to be able to show what they know. A quality preschool education is now a necessity.

Larger class sizes in the elementary schools make it crucial for children to be able to focus in order to learn. In Montessori, we are always working on focus and concentration. Children choose the work they are interested in, and they can work without interruption. Montessori materials are unique and very hands on. This helps to keep the children engaged. “In our classroom, a wide variety of materials from math and science to reading and writing are used to keep students actively learning.”, said Tania Arras, Head Teacher at Children’s Garden Montessori.

Research shows that the teacher is the single, most important factor in your child’s education. Preschool is your child’s first introduction to school. The teacher is a guide in your child’s education. A highly qualified Montessori teacher has the experience to find out what level a child is at, and then work individually to progress him or her as far as they can go.

Children build confidence and independence in Montessori preschools. These children become leaders in their elementary years. Montessori classroom are a prepared environment, where children practice making choices and following tasks through to completion. This gives them confidence to tackle new challenges and take academic risks.

Every parent envisions their child becoming a successful adult. The choices we make now for our children put us on the path to future academic success. Montessori preschool can boost children’s skills in all areas

Finding a Good Preschool for your Child

Article from the June 2013 issue of Canton Life:

Montessori is a popular trend with parents, but it’s based on a method that has been around for 100 years! Maria Montessori shifted the attention away from the traditional teacher-directed learning model to a learner-centered one. By recognizing a child’s natural desire to learn and providing special materials, each child is able to develop concentration, coordination, independence, and a regard for order.

Over Laura Bertsch’s extensive career in education, she has taught both traditional and Montessori methods. According to Bertsch, “The Montessori method really provides an individualized program for children, which accelerates personal learning and encourages multi-age collaboration.” A common misconception is that Montessori is a franchise, when in fact each school is independent. “It is important to research the school your child attends prior to enrollment.” Some things to consider are staff education and experience, and what academic and extracurricular activities will be provided. Unfortunately, many parents select the school without considering what their child will learn there. Preschool and kindergarten are the foundation for success in school.

Coming from a family of educators, Laura has much exposure to early childhood. After getting her masters in early childhood, her Montessori certificate, and teaching for 15 years, she will assume the position of Director of Children’s Garden Montessori. It is a new school, located on the West side of Canton. Besides the academic program, the children will tend a garden, cook, do hands-on science experiments, yoga, and sign language.