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By Epoch Times

While keeping life light and breezy all summer long is a perfectly wonderful strategy, adding in just enough structure for your family during the season can make the entire experience more rewarding and far less stressful.

Here are a few tips for establishing enjoyable rhythms and routines this summer for your family.

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Allow for a Transition

Those first few days after school is completed are glorious. Allow the space for your children to wake up not when the alarm blares, but when their bodies naturally rise. Allow for quiet, creativity, free play, and freedom in general those first few days.

Put Some Stakes in the Ground

Whether your calendar is filled with camp, sports, activities and more, or you’re winging it completely, scheduling some big events to look forward to over the summer can help to define the season you’re in and give everyone some things to look forward to.

These can be vacations or weekend getaways, deadlines for goals or projects you’re aiming to complete, birthday or holiday celebrations with friends and family, day trips or events you plan to attend, and so on.

Establish a Weekly Rhythm

Intentionally define some days by recurring events. For example, perhaps you try a new park every Monday or hit the library every Wednesday. Of course, if you like Tacos, you eat those on Tuesday. You get the idea. Post your weekly schedule for your children to see.

If you decide to skip something and just swim all day, that’s completely fine. It is summer, after all. However having a fun roadmap to guide you will come in very handy when you’re feeling otherwise aimless.

Maintain Morning and Evening Routines

Creating automatic routines that occur at the two bookends of the day can be very comforting to children and help to keep the home humming. Include daily tasks like cleaning up, personal hygiene, chores, reading, exercising, and anything else that’s important for your family to do daily.

If they’re old enough, encouraging your children to manage a checklist of their morning and evening routine can be empowering to them.

Return to Daily Touchstones

Having a predictable rhythm to each day can be very comforting to children (and adults). Perhaps you listen to soft music after dinner, or you read a book before bedtime, or you take a morning walk, or you pick up the house before dessert. Consistently presenting these familiar anchors or touchstones in the day help everyone to know what’s coming next and where we are in the day. These tend to become lasting memories of home and family for years to come.

Freedom is one of the best qualities of summer. Enjoy that freedom by injecting just enough structure and rhythm in your family’s day that you make the most of this season together. Happy summer!

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Ideas for Summer Learning

 

The core idea of the Montessori curriculum is what is called a “constructivist” model, which suggests that children can learn from the real world through a process of discovery and working with materials rather than by direct instruction. Summer holidays, therefore, are a great way practice this central tenet of Montessori i.e. let them engage with the world and learn.

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Here are ideas for you to try this summer:

  1. Let your child help in the kitchen
    • Name and identify vegetables from the crisper and match them to the ones in big picture books or name and identify colors of fruits and vegetables.
    • Practice naming textures like hard, soft, squishy, and sticky.
    • Make lemonade! Allowing a toddler to help with lemonade has a multitude of benefits – motor control, learning to squeeze and handle a lemon, the joy of discovery and creating (mom, I can make lemonade and it’s fun!), creativity – adding sugar, salt or rose extract to create exotic flavors, freezing lemonade to make ice-lollipops and so on.
    • Let them help create meals, shell peas or peel easy fruits, and even set the table to encourage independence.
  2. Go to the Market – Introduce your child to the real world, explain that money and shopping works through exchange, help them identify and count out simple groceries, ask them to spell out and identify items.
  3. The Great Outdoors – Summer evenings are a great time to spend in the park.  Show your toddler around the park, name local flowers, help him/her identify leaves and their colors and shapes.
  4. Conversation –  Have a conversation with your toddler.  Sit down and talk to them. Ask them how their day was, what they did, who their friends are and what they found fun in the day. Being able to narrate and speak/respond in turn are valuable skills.

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Chalk it Up This Summer

By Angie Heck

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Whenever your child practices fine motor skills, they are also indirectly preparing their hand to write. Writing takes coordination and small fine movements that children develop over time!

This summer, to get outside AND practice fine motor movements, try drawing with chalk on your driveway or sidewalks. Here are a few additional ideas for learning opportunities with chalk.

Thick Chalk for Young Children

For children who are just working to grasp markers or crayons to scribble, start out with thick chalk. It will be easier to hold and less likely to break.

At this young age, enjoy big scribbling movements outdoors that wouldn’t be possible on paper. Use new vocabulary like swirls, zig-zags, or waves. Practice color recognition by asking your child to “step on” or “jump over” objects of certain colors. For example, “Jump over the blue line!”

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Thin Chalk for Older Children

As your child gets more comfortable drawing and writing with thin tip pencils or markers, upgrade to thin chalk. Encourage holding the chalk the same way you might hold a pencil to get even more fine motor practice.

Next, get creative with drawing activities! Follow your child’s interests to make chalk games out of shape recognition (Can you step on the square?), letter sounds (Run to the ffff sound!) and problem solving (We’re running out of room, how can we complete the hopscotch board?).

Enjoy building fine motor skills and spending time as a family outdoors this summer with chalk!

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We are proud to share West Side Montessori won FIVE categories in the Toledo Area Parent Family Favorites voting.  Visit to learn how your child can learn from the very best.  Call Anne today to schedule a tour at 419-866-1931.

Best Preschool

Best Elementary School

Best Middle School

Best Summer Camp

Best Teacher – Amy Lawrence, Preschool & Kindergarten teacher

Children are natural explorers who absorb each experience as they shape their personalities. They thrive in a carefully prepared environment designed by expert West Side Montessori teachers who offer the perfect range and balance of opportunities for their rapidly growing minds and bodies.

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Children work to perfect themselves. At West Side Montessori young toddlers develop independence and competence as they delve into the unknown and learn to persevere. You can see the determination and excitement of accomplishment when a two-year-old exclaims, “Me do it!”

Young children want to understand the world and their place in it. West Side Montessori entices children to discover “why” and “how”. Each child is respected as an individual and encouraged to find the answers. The freedom to try and learn by doing encourages confidence and develops physical coordination and concentration – skills for life. From the smallest 13-month-old toddler to the oldest kindergartner, children are actively encouraged to seek knowledge, to think for themselves.

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How can three and four-year-olds successfully carry out multiple-step activities with no adult supervision? Because they practice and master the strategically designed Montessori materials. Creativity is spontaneous when five and six-year-olds use advanced skills to express their growing imaginations writing stories with the moveable alphabet or creating a poster and presentation representing the story of their lives.

Montessori teachers continuously evaluate and update each learning environment to meet the children’s current interests and needs. A spontaneous lesson on insects found outside on the extensive natural grounds may be supplemented by a series of follow-up activities, books, and songs to maximize interest and depth of learning. Responsive, caring, highly skilled and experienced adults make the magic of Montessori come alive.

The problem solvers of tomorrow are West Side Montessori children today. They’ve got grit – independence, competence, perseverance – an unquenchable desire to understand.

Lynn Fisher,

Head of School