Montessori Had It Right: We Learn By Doing

Most four- and five-year-olds can sing the alphabet song and print their names, but few can actually read. So, what does it take to push these kids to accomplish this cognitive milestone? A majority of parents and teachers alike think the answer to this question is lots of practice naming letters and sounds out loud. But, reading practice isn’t the whole story or perhaps even the most important part. Practice printing letters turns out to be imperative to reading success. When the body figures out how to write letters, the mind follows suit in terms of being able to recognize them.

Case in point, a few years ago, neuroscientist Karen James found that preschool children who took part in a one-month long reading program where they practiced printing words improved more in their letter recognition than kids who did the same reading program but practiced naming (rather than writing) the words instead. Letter recognition isn’t enhanced as much by reading letters as it is by printing them.

Learn more about James’s research at Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/choke/201304/montessori-had-it-right-we-learn-doing

The Prepared Environment at Home

One of the fundamental principles behind Maria Montessori’s educational theory is that the child needs to learn in a “prepared environment.”  Order, simplicity, beauty and accessibility are fundamental to a prepared environment.  This article by Maren Schmidt offers great suggestions on how to view your home from the child’s perspective and make the necessary changes to prepare your home environment.

What Screen Time and Screen Media Do To Your Child’s Brain and Sensory Processing Ability

It’s a scene we’re sure you’ve witnessed again and again:

A family is sitting in a restaurant having dinner. The four year old is clearly fed up with sitting, and starts to complain, jump on her seat or run around. But a few moments later, she’s quietly in her seat again, enabling her parents and older siblings to enjoy a peaceful meal and conversation for the next 30 minutes.

What happened? Her father handed her his iPhone.

It’s a scene we see repeated in doctors’ waiting rooms, supermarkets, public transportation… and while we entirely understand it, it also saddens us. So many caring, well-meaning parents are unaware of the developmental damage caused to their children by exposure to screen time and screen media.

Take a look at this article about how screen time and media affects your child’s brain: https://handsonotrehab.com/screen-time-brain-sensory-processing/