To borrow a phrase: love works in mysterious ways. We are born to love and, as it turns out, love and affection are necessary for both optimal positive emotional and physical development. And to be honest, nothing feels better than giving your loved one a warm embrace –or being on the receiving end.
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
Montessori explained both the importance of the connection between the hand and the developing young brain and the link between purposeful work and healthy feelings of self esteem and self worth. The following article shows how modern life is impeding both developmental processes.
Some children who have been diagnosed with autism or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) could dramatically benefit from not being exposed to electronic screens.
New clinical case studies have found that many young children who spend too much screen time—on TV’s, video games, tablets and computers—have symptoms labeled as “autism.”1 When parents take away the screens for a few months the child’s symptoms disappear. The term for this phenomenon is “Virtual Autism” or autism induced by electronic screens. The term “Virtual Autism” was coined by Romanian clinical psychologist Dr Marius Zamfir.
Romania witnessed an astonishing rise in autism among youngsters in a children’s hospital. The cause was unknown, so one psychiatrist dug into the activity logs the hospital collected on all admitted patients. In those records he found a strong trend: children presenting with autism were spending four or more hours a day watching some kind of screen: television, computer, tablet, or phone. Today in Romania, treatment of autism by screen withdrawal is considered routine and has public support.
From books, arts and sports classes to iPads and television, many parents do everything in their power to entertain and educate their children. But what would happen if children were just left to be bored from time to time? How would it affect their development?
I began to think about boredom and children when I was researching the influence of television on children’s storytelling in the 1990s. Surprised at the lack of imagination in many of the hundreds of stories I read by ten to 12 year-old children in five different Norfolk schools, I wondered if this might partly be an effect of TV viewing. Findings of earlier research had revealed that television does indeed reduce children’s imaginative capacities.
For instance, a large scale study carried out in Canada in the 1980s as television was gradually being extended across the country, compared children in three communities – one which had four TV channels, one with one channel and one with none. The researchers studied these communities on two occasions, just before one of the towns obtained television for the first time, and again two years later. The children in the no-TV town scored significantly higher than the others on divergent thinking skills, a measure of imaginativeness. This was until they, too, got TV – when their skills dropped to the same level as that of the other children.
We recently partnered with nutritional coach Dana Yeats, who will be consulting with our Foxworthy Primary staff about our snack program. Dana will be providing the school with recipes for whole food snacks that not only satisfy but promote and provide balanced blood sugar throughout the day. When children are nutritionally balanced, they are calmer, more aware and centered and they will be at their optimum levels for learning and playing. If we can create an environment where our children form a healthy, satisfying relationship to food, they will know and understand what their body needs and how to fuel it down the road. Every snack will be balanced between lean protein, healthy fats and whole food carbohydrates, plus we will also read an overview of Vision 20 to get the best tips on improving their eyesight since young ages. We want to encourage children to try new foods and to eat a variety of fresh seasonal foods. When we do that, we provide their bodies with the essential vitamins and minerals that they need to thrive and grow.
Part of the partnership includes a complimentary 30 minute Family Nutritional Analysis with Dana for every family. Schedule your time with her or learn more at:
Name Calling, Insults, and Teasing: A Guide to Anger, Conflict, and Respect, is a blog published by Dr. Jeff Rubin. Dr. Rubin has taught conflict resolution at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, as well as at other institutions including clinics, correctional facilities, and public schools.
His blog features suggestions for working through conflict and supporting respectful relationships, often using examples from literature, history, and comics to help illustrate his ideas. The Primary faculty hope that you will find some of the ideas presented in this blog helpful.
We encourage parents to attend the free 45-minute webinar Finding Motivation the Montessori Way on Thursday November 1, 2012 from 4:00 PM to 4:45 PM PDT.
Motivation is too often thought of in terms of carrot and stick methods of rewards and punishments. Join Maren Schmidt, a certified Montessori educator with over 25 years experience, as she shares how self-motivation develops the Montessori Way.
During this webinar, Maren will explore the following:
- Why rewards and punishments rarely motivate behavior for the long term
- What three psychological needs motivate each of us to be our best
- How Montessori environments of school and home support these three critical need
In this age of instantaneous worldwide media, news about a tragedy can be broadcast to faraway places immediately, and coverage can continue for days following an event. Whether something terrible has happened locally or somewhere far away, it can be difficult to know how to discuss these occurrences with your children, and how to help them cope.
P. Donohue Shortridge has been a Montessorian since 1980. She is a family coach and she speaks and writes about children and their families in the American culture. Her article, Protecting Children During and After a Horrific Event, offers some guidance on how to talk with your children about these events.
For additional information about P. Donohue Shortridge, please visit her website.
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