Archive for the ‘Montessori Moments’ Category

Smart Phones and Child Injuries

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

From Marginal Revolution: Smart Phones and Child Injuries

Looking at your smart phone may in fact be more interesting than watching your small child, at the margin at least.  It seems that some child injuries may be going up for this reason.  Here is a new paper (pdf) by Craig Palsson at Yale:

From 2005 to 2012, injuries to children under fi ve increased by 10%. Using the expansion of ATT’s 3G network, I find that smartphone adoption has a causal impact on child injuries. This eff ect is strongest amongst children ages 0-5, but not children ages 6-10, and in activities where parental supervision matters. I put this forward as indirect evidence that this increase is due to parents being distracted while supervising.

We have strict policies prohibiting the use of smart phones throughout The Montessori House, whenever children are present, for our staff and for our visitors.


Read to Your Child: Book vs eBook?

Monday, October 13th, 2014

An interesting articles in the New York Times: Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?

“We know how children learn to read,” said Kyle Snow, the applied research director at the National Association for the Education of Young Children. “But we don’t know how that process will be affected by digital technology.”

But a handful of new studies suggest that reading to a child from an electronic device undercuts the dynamic that drives language development.

In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading comprehension than children whose parents used traditional books. Part of the reason, they said, was that parents and children using an electronic device spent more time focusing on the device itself than on the story (a conclusion shared by at least two other studies).

But when it comes to learning language, researchers say, no piece of technology can substitute for a live instructor — even if the child appears to be paying close attention.

“There’s the possibility for e-books to become the TV babysitters of this generation,” he said. “We don’t want parents to say, ‘There’s no reason for me to sit here and turn pages and tell my child how to read the word, because my iPad can do it.’ ”

Parents note that there is an emotional component to paper-and-ink storybooks that, so far, does not seem to extend to their electronic counterparts, however engaging.

In any event, you’ll find only ink-on-paper books in the children’s reading corner at The Montessori House.

Montessori House Children’s Art at Cresskill Library

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

A selection of art created by The Montessori House children is now on display at the Cresskill Public Library.  The children created the art using traditional Montessori “metal insets.”  These beautiful pictures exemplify the children’s wonderful creativity and skills, and we are thrilled to have them displayed for all – especially you and your children — to enjoy!  We hope you’ll visit soon (a great snowy-day activity).  

Cresskill Public Library
53 Union Ave, Cresskill, NJ 07626

Mon., Wed,., and Thurs.:  10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tues., Fri., and Sat.: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.   

Tragedy …

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

We can hardly comprehend the tragedy that occurred Friday at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT.  Our deepest sympathies to the families of the children and teachers who were murdered there.   We offer our prayers for the families, teachers, staff and neighbors of  Sandy Hook School. 

– Ms. Maria

Does Your Child Visit iWorld?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In a recent article in the WSJ – What Happens When Toddlers Zone Out With an iPad 

More than half of the young children in the U.S. now have access to an iPad, iPhone or similar touch-screen device.

In many ways, the average toddler using an iPad is a guinea pig. While the iPad went on sale two years ago, rigorous, scientific studies of how such a device affects the development of young children typically take three to five years.

There is “little research on the impact of technology like this on kids,” says Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital

In the list of parental worries about tablet use: that it will make kids more sedentary and less sociable. There’s also the mystery of just what is happening in a child’s brain while using the device.

“Unfortunately a lot of the real-life experimentation is going to be done by parents who now have young kids,” says Glenda Revelle, associate professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Arkansas.

At The Montessori House we generally discourage screen time for young children.  A significant aspect of The Montessori Method is having children interact with the real world — in three dimensions, with all five senses.  When we “follow the child” we follow them through the real world, and Montessori “works” lead them through the real world.  Children engage through senses, and learn through all their senses — the Sand Paper Letters are a great example of helping children to learn by seeing the letter, moving their hands, and feeling the texture. 

The more television children watch during these formative years, Dr. Christakis says, the more likely they are to develop attention problems later on.  … While he hasn’t studied tablets and young children, he suspects the effect could be similar—or perhaps more significant. “One of the strengths of the iPad”—it is interactive—”may be the weakness,” Dr. Christakis says.

Remember in The Montessori classroom children make the choices and control their pace.  It’s different with interactive “apps”:

The child decides when a building is finished; an app determines when the task is completed correctly.

“It gives him a dopamine squirt,” says Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital in Boston, referring to the brain chemical often associated with pleasure.

Many apps for kids are designed to stimulate dopamine releases—hence encouraging a child to keep playing—by offering rewards or exciting visuals at unpredictable times.

Whatever approach you take with your child, keep in mind the proverb: “Moderation in all things”.

Tienes Hambre? Guacamole!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

On Monday, 3/26/12, parent volunteers from the Nutrition Committee made guacamole with the children at the Montessori House. 

With their Montessori training and expertise in ”practical life”, the children did the measuring, assembly and mixing themselves.   Of course the parents and teachers helped them with the eating!  Guacamole was a great hit! 

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try this at home:

  • 5 Hass avocados (ripe)

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Sea salt (to taste)

  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic

  • One tomato diced

Mix together, add some chips or other dipping food, and enjoy!  Ole!

Thanksgiving Feast Recipes: Cranberry Bread

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

We certainly enjoyed our Thanksgiving Feast at school last week: turkey, potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin smoothies, and cranberry bread!

Thanks to all the parents (Cultural Events Committee and Nutrition Committee) who made it so special.

Here’s the recipe for the Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread (makes 1 loaf):


2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup light raisins
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped


Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries. Spoon into a greased 9 X 5 X3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hr 10 mins or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack. If you choose, you may substitute cranberries for the raisins to have an all cranberry bread.

What Snacks Do We Serve?

Friday, October 28th, 2011

The Nutrition Committee has been hard at work since mid-September serving tasty, healthy, and interesting daily snacks to all the children at The Montessori House.  Committee members generally each take a week of “snack duty”; “snack duty” rotates among committee members. 

Here’s what Polly provided the week of October 17th.  

  • Monday: water crackers and provolone cheese, a bag of apples and yogurt, water crackers
  • Tuesday: pear raisin bread pudding, raisins in mini box
  • Wednesday: sweet potato puree with carrot and celery sticks
  • Thursday: veggie sushi platter (from Mr. WOK)
  • Friday: banana bread, banana

This week Clara brought us: bananas, popcorn chips, vegi platter, hummus, and organic applesauce.  And the Nutrition Committee also helped the children prepare pumpkin smoothies

We wonder what Benita will bring us next week!

If you’d like to sign-up for “snack duty”, join the Nutrition Committee via the Parents section of the website.

Pumpkin Smoothies!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

On Wednesday, 10/26/11, parent volunteers made pumpkin smoothies with the children at the Montessori House. 

With their Montessori training and expertise in ”practical life”, the children did the measuring, the blending, and the pouring themselves.  of course the parents and teachers helped them with the drinking!  The smoothies were a great hit! 

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try this at home!

  • Measure out the following:
    • ¼ cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
    • 1 teaspoon (rounded) sugar
    • Pinch of cinnamon
    • Smaller pinch of nutmeg
    • Put measured ingredients in blender to blend till smooth.
    • Drink up!

Will Your Child Join the “Mafia”?

Friday, April 8th, 2011

The Montessori Mafia

By Peter Sims

 It may seem like a laughable “only in New York” story that Manhattan mother, Nicole Imprescia, is suing her 4-year-old daughter’s untraditional private preschool for failing to prepare her for a private school admissions exam.

But her daughter’s future and ours might be much brighter with a little less conditioning to perform well on tests and more encouragement to discover as they teach in Montessori schools. Ironically, the Montessori educational approach might be the surest route to joining the creative elite, which are so overrepresented by the school’s alumni that one might suspect a Montessori Mafia: Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, not to mention Julia Child and rapper Sean “P.Diddy” Combs.

Is there something going on here?  Is there something about the Montessori approach that nurtures creativity and inventiveness that we can all learn from?

By the end of kindergarten, among 5-year-olds, “Montessori students proved to be significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children,” according to the researchers.  “They also tested better on “executive function,” the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.”

Of course, Montessori methods go against the grain of traditional educational methods.  We are given very little opportunity, for instance, to perform our own, original experiments, and there is also little or no margin for failure or mistakes.  We are judged primarily on getting answers right.  There is much less emphasis on developing our creative thinking abilities, our abilities to let our minds run imaginatively and to discover things on our own.

From the Wall Street Journal April 5, 2011, 10:57 AM ET

Getty: Montessori learners