Montessori for the Elderly

Montessori is not just for the young ones we have in our care; Montessori is a way of life that can benefit us all at each stage of our lives. Now, many communities that care for the elderly are adapting the Montessori method to help clients suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, and the effects of strokes.

Montessori lessons build on these key factors: repetition, positive reinforcement, and inclusion of the senses. Lessons are developed to increase mental and physical abilities, with individuals receiving customized lessons that strengthen their unique abilities and skills. Lessons like the knobbed cylinders help rebuild the small muscles of the hand, while an activity like recognizing world flags encourages recall. Building lessons like the pink tower help to foster the memory of working in steps. The tower has to be built a certain way; forgetting a step will result in the tower falling or missing a piece.

Hearthstone Alzheimer Care is a leader in this Montessori-based approach to elder care. Their program description offers an interesting basic overview of how Montessori lessons and philosophy are used with patients.

Feeding Your Preschooler: What’s a Normal Daily Menu?

“My child isn’t eating,” is a common statement from parents of three-year-olds. At the end of a school day, parents are often surprised that the lunch they so lovingly prepared is barely touched. When teachers are asked, they often say they encouraged the child to eat but the chip simply was not hungry. So, what’s a parent to do?

One thing to consider is the amount of water the child has consumed during the day. Water is readily available in the classroom and on the playground. Children are encouraged especially on hot days to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration. This high water consumption keeps them hydrated but also decreases their appetite.

Another factor in food intake can be distraction. During the third year of life, preschoolers are very active and mobile. Often at lunchtime, they are socializing with their friends, looking around the room – seemingly focusing on everything except eating.

Their appetite also begins to fluctuate greatly. Sometimes they get stuck on one food. These “only eating chicken nuggets” moments usually don’t last long if you don’t accommodate them. We recommend that you continue to serve a wide variety of nutritious foods.

A healthy child is most important. Speak with your child’s teacher about what foods are successful with other children. Many children like items that are easy to manage: finger foods, enriched drinks, and yogurts, for example. If you are concerned about your child’s eating habits, please contact your pediatrician.

Super Kids Nutrition, a nutrition education and healthy eating website for parents and kids, offers this Sample Daily Menu for the average Three-Year-Old child. This menu provides a good understanding of basic needs – often smaller in size than parents expect, though rich in nutrients – within the framework of your particular family’s preferences and appetites.

101 Things Parents Can Do To Help Children

Parents often wonder what they can do to reinforce Montessori principles in their home and daily routines. This list, 101 Things Parents Can Do To Help Children, was written by Early Childhood Montessori Guide Barbara Hacker, and is full of practical tips for all facets of life.

101 Things Parents Can Do To Help Children

Revolutionary Learning

In renowned creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, “Bring on the Learning Revolution,” he speaks about the crisis of human resources, poorly used talents, and a life that people endure versus enjoy. Across the world, educational systems are seeking reform. Sir Robinson believes that “reform in no use anymore. Because that’s simply improving a broken model.” He calls for a revolution in education.

Many elements of the revolutionary environment Robinson describes are found in a Montessori classroom, which begs the question, “Shouldn’t every school be a Montessori school?”

How Do Students Do After Montessori?

One of the questions we are most frequently asked when families are touring our school is, “How do the students do once they leave Montessori?” A recent research study by AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) reveals that Montessori students who transition to traditional settings score higher in Mathematics and Science than students with no Montessori background. For students who have attended a Montessori program for three to eleven years, significantly higher scores are noted.

If you have further questions regarding our students’ performance, please reach out to us.

Montessori’s Brain-Based Approach

Steve Hughes, PhD, LP, ABPdN is the Director of the Center for Research on Developmental Education and a board certified pediatric neuropsychologist. He is a scientist who speaks about brain development and educates parents about academic, social, and executive functioning. In his talk, “Good at Doing Things,” Hughes highlights Montessori’s brain-based approach to education and its benefits.

A few highlights include:

• More of the brain is dedicated to controlling your hands than any other part of the body

• Human beings learn best through hands-on exploration of the world, especially in childhood

• Montessori’s hands-on education philosophy is based on the idea that the hands are the tools the mind uses to discover the world

Montessori Philosophy: Individual Ownership of Learning

When parents are choosing Montessori education for their child, they are trusting their child to take his learning into his own hands. The environment is designed to allow students to discover and learn on their own. The materials are self-correcting and are used until the child says, “I did it.” This type of learning is very different from traditional learning. In a traditional learning environments, information is housed with the teacher. The teacher instructs the child what is important to learn and through rote effort, the child memorizes the information. To confirm that the student learned the information necessary, the student takes a written test. Weeks later, though, students have often forgotten or have a diminished memory of what they were taught. In the Montessori environment, children discover the answers themselves, so information and learning is housed within them. They may then draw connections between the newly learned information and other topics and events in their lives.

This article on highlights one family’s experience with individual ownership of learning. In seeing their son Wyatt’s newly developed writing skills, his parents questioned, “Who taught Wyatt how to write?” Wyatt’s response: “I did.”

Encouraging Observation – Or, Slow Down and Watch the Birds

One of the best things about summer is the opportunity to spend time exploring nature with your children. The blog Carrots are Orange has great suggestions for studying the birds around your home – including creating a Montessori-inspired observation area. Follow these tips and the birds in your yard will get a much-appreciated treat, and your children will get a wonderful view of some of the wildlife surrounding their home!