MLK Day of Service

MLK Day of Service

On Monday, January 20th, 95 parents, children, staff, and alumni gathered to participate in a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Thank you to all of the families, staff, and alumni who participated. Our community assembled 30 housewarming baskets for people formerly experiencing homelessness who are now moving into new housing, 50 hygiene bags for people experiencing homelessness, and 120 bagged lunches for a local food pantry – all entirely comprised of items donated by our families. Another group of volunteers sorted 2,000 books at The Maryland Book Bank. (Watch closely for a few of our Lower Elementary students featured on Wbal-Tv.) Indeed, many hands make light work!

​In considering our theme from last school year (Service & Stewardship) with this year’s (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) it seemed a natural fit to partner together in this way. Your generosity in providing supplies for the assembly projects was humbling, your partnership with your children in service of others was heartwarming, and our impact together was astounding! 

Thank you sincerely for sharing yourself in this way. What a wonderful reminder of how, in Baltimore, we are all in this together. We look forward to being in service alongside you again soon!

Toddler Take Your Parent to School Day

Toddler Take Your Parent to School Day

The Toddlers loved sharing their classrooms with their parents on Toddler Take Your Parent to School Day. To see photographs from the event, please take a look below!

Raising Toddlers with Montessori Discipline

Raising Toddlers with Montessori Discipline

Watch on YouTube | Subscribe on YouTube

Greenspring Montessori School Toddler Guides, Danuta Wilson and Kim McCaslin, discuss strategies to encourage your child to self-regulate their behaviors and emotions at home. They provide simple strategies that can be implemented at home today, all based off of their Montessori training, 15+ years combined classroom experience, and their own experiences as parents.

If you have questions or would like to suggest topics for future events, please contact us at learn@greenspringmontessori.org.

Easing Separation Anxiety

Easing Separation Anxiety

Beginning a new school year is a time of excitement and uncertainty for many new children. For some, it is their first time being away from home for a stretch of time. It is common for students (and parents) to experience feelings of anxiety; this is perfectly normal. These feelings are often caused by a fear of the unknown, as the child has no point of reference to draw upon when faced with a new environment or experience.

Separation anxiety can also be attributed to a child’s stage of development. Separation anxiety is a normal part of development, and most common for children aged eight months to two years; however, it can affect children of all ages. The first day of school, in a new room or level, can bring on a reoccurrence of separation anxiety in children who were previously settled. It takes time for young children to build relationships and establish a sense of trust with their new guides, so that they come to understand that their new environment is a safe and happy place. This is not uncommon, and is likely to settle once a new routine and relationships have been established.

 

           

 

Below you will find a number of strategies published by the Montessori Academy to help Montessori parents settle their children into preschool. Remember separation anxiety is a phase, it is perfectly normal, and will pass in time.

Positive Behaviors and Attitudes

Modeling positive behaviors and attitudes plays an important role in the success of the first day of school, and the weeks thereafter. Keep discussions about school positive, and focus on things that your child is likely to enjoy. Children pick up on parent’s feelings, behaviors, and emotions, and are likely to emulate them if you are feeling upset or uncertain.

Morning Routines

Establish a positive and happy morning routine for preschool days. For children over two, this may include encouraging your child to pack their own school bag or sing a happy ‘school day’ themed song. Always give yourself plenty of time to get ready and arrive on time. Feeling late or rushed can cause children to feel additional anxiety.

Acknowledge your Child’s Feelings

It is important to accept that your child’s unhappiness at being separated from you is real, very normal, and temporary. Reinforce that you understand that leaving your child makes them unhappy, but that it is important that you leave, and they will have a good time. Avoid offering your child bribes for good behavior or not crying as this is only a temporary solution. Learning to cope with sadness is an important part of your child’s development and learning about emotions.

Positive and Prompt Goodbyes

When you drop your child off, don’t linger outside the classroom or stay for “just one more minute.” As a parent, the best thing you can do is give your child a hug and a kiss as they get out of the car, let them know you love them, and reassure them that you will be back soon. It is important for your child that you do not delay the inevitable.

Establish a Goodbye Routine

Montessori parents who establish a consistent goodbye routine typically have better luck with successful goodbyes. Take a special moment with your child to say goodbye, and do it the same way, every day. This may be as simple as a kiss and a cuddle, giving your child a thumbs up, or establishing a ‘secret’ hand shake. A special goodbye is a great way for your child to start their day feeling happy and reassured.

Encourage Friendships

Make a point of getting to know your child’s friends and classmates at school, and encourage friendships outside of school. These friendships will help make your child’s transition to the new Montessori environment easier.

Pick Up Routines

It is important to be punctual when picking up your child. It easy to lose track of time, but no matter who is picking your child up, always be on time. If you are late, it can cause your child to feel more anxiety, and makes drop off the next time much harder.

Positive Daily Reflections

On the way home, establish a routine where you talk to your child about their school day. Focus on the positive aspects of their day, such as their favorite activity, or playing with their best friend. By consistently reinforcing the positive aspects of their school day, your child will learn that their new environment is a fun and happy place, and their feelings of anxiety will decrease over time.

 

Grace & Courtesy is All About Respect

Grace & Courtesy is All About Respect

“A child who becomes a master of his acts through repeated exercises [of grace and courtesy]…is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

Have you ever entered a Montessori classroom and noticed that the children are naturally respectful of each other and often helpful? An older child may help a younger child zip his jacket zipper. A child might accidentally spill beans on the floor and two children stop what they are doing to help her clean up. Two students having a disagreement decide to go over to the peace table to work it out. These are manifestations of tGrace and Courtesy in the Montessori classroom, which is built upon 1) treating the child with respect, 2) teaching the child to respect herself, 3) teaching the child to treat others with respect, and 4) teaching the child to treat her environment with respect. Grace and Courtesy remains a focus at every level of Montessori education.

When we respect a young learner’s dignity by teaching the basic rules of etiquette, it fills a need in them. Dr. Montessori once taught a small group of children how to politely blow their noses; she explained every step in detail and showed them how to do it quietly and respectfully. After this presentation, the children erupted into spontaneous applause. They were delighted to know how to do something, that to adults would seem so basic. However, to these young learners, their teacher had shown them something they were longing to know how to do.

What does this look like in our classrooms? Treating the child with respect means that we speak to the children with soft voices and at eye level. We give the children freedom to choose their work and decide where they want to work. Yet the guidelines and limits of the environment are understood by all. For example, a lesson should be put back where it came from before moving on to something new. Children are free to choose their work, but are not free to disturb the work of others. We call this “freedom with responsibility.”

        

There are specific Grace and Courtesy lessons that demonstrate how to respect and care for oneself, such as blowing one’s nose, washing hands, getting in and out of a chair, putting on shoes, hanging up or putting on a jacket, etc.

     

Lessons on respecting others include how to greet a visitor, walking around a rug, how to ask for help, using soft voices, inviting others to work, how to solve a conflict with a classmate, etc.

       

Lessons on respecting the environment include carrying and rolling up a rug, setting the table, how to take materials off of shelves, washing a plant, washing a table or mirror, etc. We are working daily on cultivating a sense of gratitude and nurturing wonder.

One of the main goals of a Montessori education is to prepare students to be contributing and valued members of society. This starts with lessons of Grace and Courtesy, which are key to modeling peace, learning how to act in social situations, showing respect for each other. These are tools our children will use their entire lives!

 

2019 Carseat Safety Guidelines

2019 Carseat Safety Guidelines

2019 Carseat Safety Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently changed their safety recommendations to remove the age limit on rear-facing car seats. They now suggest keeping children rear-facing until they reach the highest weight and height allowed by the manufacturer of the seat. You can read a full overview of the guidelines at this link or read the summary below.

The AAP recommends:

  • Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear-facing well beyond the age of 2.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the height and weight limits for their seats. Many seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds or more.
  • When children exceed these limits, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly. This is often when they have reached at least 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old.
  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection.
  • All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

Winter Clothing Recommendations:
Bulky clothing, including winter coats and snowsuits, should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat. In a car crash, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat. 
Instead, use a coat or blanket over the straps. You can add a blanket over the top of the harness straps or put your child’s winter coat on backwards (over the buckled harness straps) after he or she is buckled up.

You can read more Winter Car Seat Safety Tips from the AAP here.