Montessori Children's House of Nantucket

April 2016
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.

-Dr. Montessori
Parenting in the News:

Many studies in recent years have highlighted the importance of quality early education programing for children.  As stated in a July 2014 publication by the Children's Defense Fund, "A safe, nurturing, stable and stimulating environment is crucial to ensuring that a child's brain develops appropriately during these earliest years of rapid development. Children who receive a high quality early childhood experience are more likely to graduate from school, maintain a job, and contribute to society...".  The values and skills that children internalize during the early childhood years build a foundation for their approach to later schooling and life.  

Below is a section from the New York Times bestselling book   How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kids for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former Stanford dean.  The question: "What are the skills that every 18-year old needs?".  Lythcott-Haims shares her perspective and outlines a few suggestions for what parents should avoid in order to best support the development of these skills throughout childhood.

1. An 18-year-old must be able to talk to strangers - faculty, deans, advisers, landlords, store clerks, human resource managers, coworkers, bank tellers, health care providers, bus drivers, mechanics-in the real world.
The crutch: We teach kids not to talk to strangers instead of teaching the more nuanced skill of how to discern the few bad strangers from the mostly good ones. Thus, kids end up not knowing how to approach strangers - respectfully and with eye contact - for the help, guidance, and direction they will need out in the world.
2. An 18-year-old must be able to find his way around a campus, the town in which her summer internship is located, or the city where he is working or studying abroad.
The crutch: We drive or accompany our children everywhere, even when a bus, their bicycle, or their own feet could get them there; thus, kids don't know the route for getting from here to there, how to cope with transportation options and snafus, when and how to fill the car with gas, or how to make and execute transportation plans.
3. An eighteen-year-old must be able to manage his assignments, workload, and deadlines.
The crutch: We remind kids when their homework is due and when to do it- sometimes helping them do it, sometimes doing it for them; thus, kids don't know how to prioritize tasks, manage workload, or meet deadlines, without regular reminders.
4. An 18-year-old must be able to contribute to the running of a house hold.
The crutch: We don't ask them to help much around the house because the checklisted childhood leaves little time in the day for anything aside from academic and extracurricular work; thus, kids don't know how to look after their own needs, respect the needs of others, or do their fair share for the good of the whole. 
5. An 18-year-old must be able to handle interpersonal problems.
The crutch: We step in to solve misunderstandings and soothe hurt feelings for them; thus, kids don't know how to cope with and resolve conflicts without our intervention.
6. An 18-year-old must be able to cope with ups and downs of courses and workloads, college- level work, competition, tough teachers, bosses, and others.
The crutch: We step in when things get hard, finish the task, extend the deadline, and talk to the adults; thus, kids don't know that in the normal course of life things won't always go their way, and that they'll be okay regardless.
7. An 18-year-old must be able to earn and manage money.
The crutch: They don't hold part-time jobs; they receive money from us for what ever they want or need; thus, kids don't develop a sense of responsibility for completing job tasks, accountability to a boss who doesn't inherently love them, or an appreciation for the cost of things and how to manage money.
8. An 18-year-old must be able to take risks.
The crutch: We've laid out their entire path for them and have avoided all pitfalls or prevented all stumbles for them; thus, kids don't develop the wise understanding that success comes only after trying and failing and trying again (a.k.a. "grit") or the thick skin (a.k.a. "resilience") that comes from coping when things have gone wrong.
Remember: our kids must be able to do all of these things without resorting to calling a parent on the phone. If they're calling us to ask how, they do not have the life skill.
After this section appeared on, Lythcott-Haimes went on to answer questions from readers, a few of which relate directly to pre-school age children:
"How can I raise a mentally healthy toddler to be a sucessful productive adult?"
"What are the most important skills/attributes children should be developing?"

Young children crave the opportunity to try things for themselves. These opportunities are provided readily throughout our school and repeated practice is encouraged.  Teachers support the students by providing opportunities for success, building skills and confidence.  As the children approach mastery of certain materials and concepts, they are then asked to teach other students. 

Students participate in caring for our Children's House "household"

The Children's House environment and educators foster independence, self-assurance and inner-discipline.  The classrooms and materials are carefully designed to encourage children to work as independently as possible.  Students learn problem solving strategies through daily classroom experiences (spilling water, gathering supplies needed for an activity, serving themselves snack, cleaning up their work spaces, etc.).  

Students are taught to use tools properly so that they can prepare snack for their peers

Tools and other necessities such as sponges, towels, dustpan and brush, snack and water, pencil sharpeners, scissors, glue, etc. are all available to the students. Early in the school year, children are shown where to find each item in the school and how to use it.  As students develop an awareness of the problems that can arise, they also learn how to best overcome these obstacles by using what we have in the classroom. Teachers are always available to guide the process through gentle questions, helping the child to arrive at the solution. 

In many ways, Montessori education is based on "learning through doing" and so in addition to practicing practical life skills, the Montessori didactic materials found in each curriculum area are self correcting, enabling the students to use the trial and error process to achieve success independently.   

Concentration using tools found around the home & 
enjoying dramatic play together! 

While self-help, physical and academic skills develop t hrough the use of Montessori and teacher-made materials and activities, simultaneously, social and emotional development occurs through imaginative, open ended play and interactions that come with having 30+ classmates.  

Nurturing teachers and direct lessons in Grace and Courtesy (part of the traditional Montessori curriculum) emphasize kindness, thoughtfulness and gratitude.  These lessons and reminders are given continuously and the school day provides unlimited opportunities to practice.   
Third Year students have worked with Linda Zola throughout the course of the year in Art Appreciation learning about primary, secondary, tertiary and complimentary colors! 

A few of our favorite books about color:

Activities like color mixing (materials: red, yellow and blue water, eye droppers, sponge and empty bottle for mixing) provide hands-on experience with color.

In the springtime, more advanced activities like this one are out on the shelves.  Often, older students are given a lesson by the teacher and then are asked to present the lesson to younger students.  See how they pass it along...



Research has shown that when students teach one another, both children benefit. We actively encourage this practice throughout the school and remind students to ask a friend or older student when they have a question.  As a Montessori learning community, information and knowledge flow in many directions.  W e appreciate that within a supportive, nurturing environment, we all learn from each other!
One Puzzle, Three Ways:

Springtime sunshine and color work throughout the school has inspired student artwork!

With warmer weather and the busy season approaching, please take a moment to read the flyer below from the Department of Early Education and Care
Faucet Repair

This work has been quite popular this month!  The multi-step process requires fine-motor skills, concentration, coordination and a sense of order- all of which are central Montessori learning outcomes.  Children use two different types of screwdrivers and their hands to assemble and disassemble the faucet pictured above.  They must match the many pieces to the "mapped mat" to sequence the steps, then discern which tools to use when (flat head, Philips head, fingers) in order to put the pieces together.   

Concentration and focus come when a task is of interest to the child and has purpose for him or her.  The enjoyment and pride that comes from completing a meaningful task is reflected on our students faces!

Students who have practiced this work help another child

Weaving has continued throughout this month, with students finishing projects that have taken days or even weeks to complete.  

Students work both individually and together while weaving.  In either case, the repetition and rhythm of the pattern has a calming effect and the quiet focus that emerges is quite impressive!

Children begin by learning the weaving pattern of over-under using a weaving mat.  Once students master this pattern, they may choose to move on to an individual project.  Once completed, there are several variations of looms that utilize the same techniques: small and large circles, rectangles, double-sided rectangles and squares.  Many of t hese are easy projects to create at home with leftover yarn or recycled materials!

We are grateful for the many sponsors, donors, volunteers and guests who contributed to Casino Night on April 9th

It was a true community effort, resulting in a wonderful night that greatly benefited our special school!  

Thank you!

Third Year students practice reading daily.  These First Year students have observed their older peers and were inspired to try it for themselves!

Save the Dates!
Please mark your calendars with the important dates below

Monday May 2nd
Picture Day

Friday May 6th
Mother's Day Tea
Please note your seating time, posted in the coatroom

Friday May 13th
Parent Coffee 
8:00-8:30am Please join us!

Wednesday May 18th
New Parent Meeting
3:30pm at MCHN

June 9th
Third Year Graduation
2:15pm at MCHN

June 10th
Potluck Picnic & Last Day of School
School day ends at 11:15
Picnic from 11:30-1:30  for both new and current families!

Mother's Day Tea is one of the Children's House's most loved traditions.  This year, students are taking an active role in preparing for the tea.  So far, they have created invitations and started to make the decorations that will help to transform the downstairs into a beautiful restaurant!
Making invitations and decorations

Next week, each little group will be baking sweet treats for the tea and on Friday they will help to prepare the fruits and veggies as well as arrange flowers and set the tables.  Students will also practice how to guide their guest to the table and pull out the chair.   

While there is no dress code, many mothers and children choose to dress up for this special occasion!

Cutting out flowers for the walls of the basement

Working Together
A Third Year student helps a First Year construct and walk the maze.  This is an extension using the Length Rods, a Sensorial Montessori material.

Third Year and Second Year students work side-by-side in Geography on maps of Africa

Two First Year students work cooperatively on the Hundred Board, a Montessori math material

A First Year and Third Year student worked together over the course of two days on tracing and coloring a blue whale from a resource book.  

By simply using the MCHN link, Children's House families have earned
$1,189.00 for our school since September! 
Please click the amazon button below and bookmark the page for future orders!

Thank you for your support!