Why Kids Need Recess

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Recess. The word alone may bring back vivid childhood memories — the sounds of happy screeching, yelling, and laughter, the feeling of the breeze on your face as you ran as fast as your legs could carry you while your friends chased you, the experience of trying to catch your breath from a fit of giggles, even the bittersweet memories of trying to work out a problem or disagreement with a peer as you stood face-to-face in anger. Whatever your experiences were of recess, they were undoubtedly important to your social and emotional development.

Recess, as it turns out, is about far more than exercise. Continue reading “Why Kids Need Recess”

Who We Are: Maria Burr

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As part of a series we’re calling Who We Are, we’re working to build our community by interviewing the talented, dynamic parents and staff who make up the people of Villa di Maria. Today, we meet Maria Burr, founder of the Montessori Bambini Guide and mother to three children at Villa. Maria is a familiar face at Villa — you will often see her smiling face at drop-off every morning. She is a kind, warm, intelligent person who is quite easy to talk to — so make sure you say hello when you see her! Continue reading “Who We Are: Maria Burr”

Sound Game

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There are many games a directress may play with the children in a primary classroom that are meant to awaken a child’s ability to discern sounds within a word. The sound game shown here is intended to isolate the beginning sound of each word.  Continue reading “Sound Game”

October at Villa di Maria

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Fall is in full swing at Villa di Maria! With construction well under way on the north side of the school grounds, the children have adjusted well to new play and socializing spaces. Staff and students have worked to celebrate all things fall, including well-placed colorful mums and pumpkins to spooky spider webs made from string and even a few surprise spiders here and there!  It’s such a fun time of year! Here’s what we’ve been up to. Continue reading “October at Villa di Maria”

The Role of the Contrarian in the Lower Elementary Classroom

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The contrarian is best defined as a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion, someone who challenges or goes against the usual. For parents, it is the child who questions or challenges everything: from the rules of the household to the clothing the parent deems appropriate for weather or special occasion. It is the child who disagrees with much of what is presented to him; he must find out for himself a thing to be true rather than being told and simply believing.

At first glance, a child who proves to be contrary can be a real challenge; he or she shakes up group dynamics and can slow down decision-making processes or even rattle and frustrate other children. However, in the Montessori classroom, particularly within the age group of the Lower Elementary classroom where the social piece is so important, a contrarian can be the source of growth for all. With gentle and thoughtful directing from the adults in the classroom, handling the situations that come up with a contrarian in the group can actually be a benefit to the others.  Continue reading “The Role of the Contrarian in the Lower Elementary Classroom”