101 Things Parents Can Do to Help Children continues this week with
41 through 50! We hope these little hints are helpful in your parenting adventures!
41. Whenever you go somewhere with your child, prepare him/her for what is going to happen and what will be expected of him/her at the store, restaurant, doctor's office, etc.
42. Express appreciation to your child and others and help your child to do the same. Send thank you notes for gifts. Young children can dictate or send a picture. Older children can write their own. Key is learning the importance of expressing appreciation.
43. Help your child to learn to like healthful foods. Never force a child to eat something he/she does not like, but also don't offer unlimited alternatives! Make trying new things fun. Talk about foods and how they look or describe the taste. Introduce the word "savor" and teach how to do it. Engage children in food preparation.
44. When food shopping, talk to your child about what you see -- from kumquats to lobsters. Talk about where food items come from. Talk about the people who help us by growing, picking, transporting, and displaying food.
45. Provide your child with appropriate sized furniture: his/her own table and chair to work at; perhaps a rocker in the living room to be with you; a bed that can easily be made by a child; a stool for climbing up to sink or counter.
46. While driving, point things out and discuss -- construction work, interesting buildings, vehicles, bridges, animals.
47. Teach the language of courtesy. Don't interrupt your child and don’t let your child interrupt. Teach how to wait after saying, "Excuse me, please."
48. Analyze any annoying behavior of your child and teach from the positive. For example: door slamming -- show how to close a door; running in the house -- show how to walk; runny nose -- demonstrate how to use a tissue.
49. Spend quality time with people of different ages.
50. Teach your child about your faith and make them feel a part of it.
Stay tuned, in the New Year we’ll continue “101 Things Parents Can Do to Help Children.”
As you wrap up your holiday gift selection keep in mind that simple gifts often appeal to young children as much as, or even more than, the big flashy commercial ones. A child’s favorite activities can suggest some unusual but very appropriate gifts. These gifts can be imaginative, investigative, and constructive. They are as likely to come from the hardware store or the fabric store as from the toy store. They might be “put together” as well as purchased and they might not be things at all. Experiences and shared memories offer so much more value than flashy toys Here are some suggestions for great gifts for children of all ages that engage them in the world around them and help them create lifelong memories:
a membership to a museum
tickets to a special play or concert
a flashlight, a magnifying glass, potter’s clay
pastels or watercolors and a pad of paper
small gardening tools and seeds
small bread pans and a children’s baking recipe book
yarn and a crochet hook, colored scarves for dress-up
boxes for organizing a child’s collections
(rocks, seed pods, cars, this list is endless)
a photo album and a simple camera
an amaryllis bulb and a book in which to draw pictures as it grows
and, most important, time with you!
Your child learns and experiences the world best through her/his hands. Avoid electronic toys and give your child the gift of hands-on discovery by choosing gifts that speak to all their senses. Your knowledge of your child’s special interests will guide you – with these simple gifts you and your child will have many opportunities to create meaningful holiday memories!
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Copies will be at the front desk, or you can download here.
Thank you to all of you, our Greene Towne families, for the generous contributions to this year’s Thanksgiving Food Drive, benefitting SHARE. During Kindergarten time a few weeks ago, all the Kindergarten children gathered to hear about the challenges faced by families who don’t have enough food. The Monday before Thanksgiving, our oldest students sorted all the generous donations into categories: Vegetables, Fruit, Meat, Pasta, Cereal, Beans, etc. putting to good use their emerging reading skills.
After sorting the donations we talked about how much this food is needed in our community to help people who don’t have enough food to eat and how grateful the recipients are for the donations.
We are grateful to all the parents who helped organize the drive and who came in to support the Kindergarteners during the sorting.
We also talked about things for which we are thankful. Here are some of the things our Kindergarten students said:
I’m thankful for:
such a big house
for a 165-year-old house
for my brothers and cousins
for my baby brother
for getting together with family
for everything except for beestings
for food trees and apple pie
for getting together with my cousins
for my baby sister
for family and friends
that my mommy came today.
Parenting tips and kick off with these wise words from James A. Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders,
but they have never failed to imitate them.” J.A.B
Here are 31 through 40! We hope you will take a few moments to read them
and consider which of these can fit into your life.
31. Tell and re-tell family based stories. For example, "On the day you were born..."
32. Look at family pictures together. Help your child be aware of his/her extended family, names, and relationships.
33. Construct your child's biography, the story of his/her life. A notebook is ideal so that it can be added to each year. Sharing one's story can become a much loved ritual. It can be shared with the child's class at birthday time.
34. Assist your child to be aware of his/her feelings, to have vocabulary for emotions and be able to express them.
35. Play games together. Through much repetition children learn to take turns, to win and lose.
36. Together, do things to help others. For example, take food to an invalid neighbor, contribute blankets to a homeless shelter, give toys to those who have none, etc.
37. Speak the language of the virtues. Talk about patience, cooperativeness, courage, ingenuity, cheerfulness, helpfulness, kindness, etc. and point out those virtues when you see them demonstrated.
38. Refrain from giving your child too much "stuff." If there is already too much, give some away or store and rotate.
39. Memorize poetry and teach it to your child and recite it together.
40. Put up a bird feeder. Let your child have responsibility for filling it. Together learn to be good watchers and learn about the birds you see.
“There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in senses.” ~Aristotle
Many of the sensorial exercises, by their very nature, are a remote preparation for academic learning. For example, the child who has learned to listen carefully will be able to perceive subtle differences in the sounds of the letters. Of equal importance to language skills are the geometric materials, which help the child to concentrate on different shapes.
Indirect preparation for the motor technique of writing begins when the child uses the Knobbed Cylinder Blocks. These are four oblong blocks of natural colored wood. Each block contains ten cylinder shaped insets which can be handled by a knob attached to the top. The cylinders vary in graduated differences of depth and diameter.
At first the child works with one cylinder block. He takes all the cylinders out, mixes them up, and replaces each in its corresponding socket. The exercise has a built-in control of error because each cylinder fits correctly in only one particular hole. Later, the child works with two, three, and finally four blocks at the same time. Eventually, a child can complete the whole exercise while wearing a blindfold!
Essentially this is a sensorial exercise in discrimination of size. However, it is also an important muscular activity because the child grasps the little knobs with the same three fingers which will be used to hold a pencil. Each time the child does the exercise she gains control of the small finger muscles which she will eventually use for writing. Other materials in the classroom requiring the handling of this same type of knob are the metal insets from the Geometric Cabinet and the pieces of the Puzzle Maps.
Working with the sensorial materials enable children to build a strong and broad based foundation of skills that they will need to do the more academic work of the Kindergarten year and the subsequent years in elementary, middle, high school and beyond.
Hello, GTMS Families! My name is Jeffrey Halili and I'm the father of Jessica Halili (GTMS Alumna and current ICS Grade 2 Immersion: Maestra Yineth) and Jacob Halili (Primary School: Mrs. Pysher).
When I first saw the news about Typhoon Haiyan, I was completely taken aback at the amount of damage and suffering. I called my parents very quickly thereafter and was fortunately to hear that my families back home were not as affected. Unfortunately, some others were... I was compelled to act. I couldn't claim my heritage as a Filipino or my faith if didn't. So I started to make some phone calls to all my opera singer friends and coaches that I went to school with at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Their support and generosity have been inspiring and so I'm happy to announce:
The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia will present Voices for Relief, two benefit concerts at the church at 21st and Walnut Streets in collaboration with artists and alumni from the Academy of Vocal Arts. The concert dates are Saturday, November 30th and Saturday, December 14th, both at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25. All proceeds and any additional donations will go to Red Cross International.
The concerts will feature many of my friends, alumni and current resident artists. They are all world class opera singers who have won many prestigious awards such as the Metropolitan Opera Competition and/or have sung at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and La Scala as well as many opera houses around the United States and the world. It will also include myself and Jessica and Jacob's mother, Jennifer Hsiung, who is my beautiful wife and AVA alumna with an wonderful soprano voice.
Also, we will be providing limited child care for the events as the church has a beautiful, staffed nursery with a speaker available so parents won't have to miss the concert if they need to attend to their children.
Reservations are strongly recommended as there has been growing interest in the concert. If the concert does sell out, please still consider to donate to Red Cross International via https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod10001.
Thanks for your support and we hope to see you at the concert!
Every classroom and every part of the day at Greene Towne reveal vignettes of activity and conversation that demonstrate the power and intricacy of growth within small children. A toddler who carefully, carefully carries his porcelain soup bowl to the dish bin after lunch. A primary child who intently counts one of the math chains, oblivious to the activity around her. Toddlers busily scooping up leaves into a bucket on the playground. Primary children carrying a bin of paper to the recycling container down the hall. These may seem like small chores, but for the child who is independently practicing a new skill, they are huge! I’ve been a Montessori educator for decades, but these moments of watching the children unfold in the prepared environment never fail to inspire me.
It has been very good to spend time in the halls and classrooms at Greene Towne over this past two weeks, and to re-immerse myself in the life of the school. We all miss Helena, but the teachers and staff are doing a wonderful job, and the children are thriving. I have been happy to meet many of you, and I will be at the school this coming Friday morning during parent conferences, so feel free to stop by to say hello. I rotate between the two campuses, but hope to see a number of you at one site or the other.
May you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Wear your pajamas to school Wednesday, November 27th!
ALL SCHOOL DISMISSAL at 11:45. NO ADM after 11:45.
December 5, 2013 8:15 – 9:00 am: The December First Thursday Parent Education Session is Strategies to Juggle Work/Life/Parenting with Lisa Dissinger, PhD
Feeling overscheduled? Craving time to yourself? Nowadays parenting is a team sport. Together we will discuss how to nurture family and work and identify strategies to strive toward a work-life-family balance that works for you.
Check it out! There is something for everyone. Of particular interest in this issue…
Page 8: Psychologist vs. Mom, Life in the Real World of Parenting. How a psychologist-mom balances theory and practice with her 2-year-old.
Page 14: Owner’s Manual for a Montessori Primary Child. Read a letter from your child about what she or he needs from you to grow into a healthy adult.
Page 25: All but the One on Death. Death is a part of life. As sad and difficult as it is, a death is likely to touch your family at some point in your child’s early years. Read about ways to prepare your child and speak with him or her in age appropriate ways.
Page 26: 5 Essential Ways to Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Page 28: Book Reviews!
Page 32: “A growing body of scientific research suggests that noise affects the development of the pre-frontal cortex (which is responsible for reasoning, managing behavior, and self-control)” Read more about the value of creating a quiet, calm environments for your children that promote reflection.
Page 34: Just Because He Could, Doesn’t Mean He Should. Read a frustrated parent’s concern and the teacher’s reply.
2013 Winter Toy Drive
Starts Monday, December 2nd
We would like to invite you to support Turning Points for Children’s annual Brighter Holidays Project. The project is a great opportunity for families to purchase new items that will help Turning Points for Children create a holiday Toy Shop. In early December, the Toy Shop is set up at their facility where families and children, who have been selected by social workers, are scheduled to come in and choose gifts from the donations received.
Through your support last year, more than 800 children received gifts from the Toy Shop. This year they hope to increase those numbers! We invite you to join them again in providing gifts for families and their children so they can have a brighter holiday.
Turning Points for Children's mission is to support families in raising safe, healthy, educated, and strong children by partnering with caregivers to develop and strengthen protective qualities and by offering them the tools, skills, and resources they need to ensure their children's optimal development.
To learn more about the work that Turning Points for Children does and to volunteer please visit TurningPointsforChildren.org.
Donations will be accepted until the morning of Friday, December 13th when the Kindergarten students will sort the donations.
How well I remember that day, many years ago, when my older son, Daniel, climbed the stairs of the old Greene Towne – the one at the top of the church at 20th and Cherry Streets. Small, but undaunted, he toiled up to the third floor to be greeted by a warm and loving staff and began his educational life in a Montessori school. On that first day he experienced challenge, success, and warm encouragement, the hallmarks of a Montessori education. The foundation that he received at Greene Towne has endured; independence, self-direction, curiosity, community awareness, and perseverance have marked his learning style and approach to life ever since. His younger brother, also a Greene Towne grad, exhibits similar traits, though they have chosen very different careers.
I was fortunate to return to teaching at Greene Towne a few years later, and spent nineteen more years participating in the learning processes of hundreds of children (I’ve actually never counted them, but there must have been hundreds), each a unique personality, and a deeply interesting individual (including Brice Goldberg, Erika’s son!).
It was a great surprise for me to receive the call from Kevin Baum last week, and hear his request that I serve as Acting Head at Greene Towne while Helena recovers. It was a shock to hear of Helena’s unfortunate encounter with a car on the Parkway, and of her subsequent hospitalization, but I have confidence in her steady and strong recovery – as we all know, Helena gets things done! In the meantime, it is a privilege for me to sit in Helena’s chair, and to serve teachers, staff, and parents in a leadership capacity. I have spent the past seven years working as a Montessori teacher educator and consultant, and in those roles have returned to Greene Towne often – so coming back here for a time feels like a comfortable transition.
Having said that, it is clear that Greene Towne has grown and changed in many ways since my tenure here. The growth of the toddler program and of All Day Montessori – along with a whole new campus – means that I have a lot to learn about what Greene Towne is up to in 2013. I am very, very impressed with the competence and professionalism of the faculty and staff who keep the school running. And the organizational structure that Helena has put in place is holding strong. I am fortunate to be picking things up with so much support.
I appreciate the warm welcome of staff and parents, and all the offers of support. I am happy to be here, and look forward to meeting more of you in the next few weeks. Please do not hesitate to or call me if you have questions or concerns, or if you just want to talk.
Helpful Parenting tips by Barbara Hacker. We hope you will take a few moments to read them and consider which of these can fit into your life. This week, 21-30:
21. Assign regular household tasks that need to be done to maintain the household to your child as age appropriate. (Perhaps setting silverware and napkins on the table, sorting, recycling. dusting, watering plants, etc.)
22. Attend school parent education functions.
23. Arrange time for both parents to attend parent-teacher conferences. Speak together in preparation for the conference and write down questions to ask.
24. Talk to your child clearly without talking down. Communicate with respect and give the child the gift of language, new words and expressions.
25. When talking to your child, physically get on his/her level, be still, and make eye contact.
26. Sing! Voice quality does not matter. Sing together regularly. Build a repertoire of family favorites.
27. Refrain from over-structuring your child's time with formal classes and activities. Leave time to "just be," to play, explore, create.
28. Teach your child safety precautions. (Deal with matches, plugs, chemicals, stairs, the street, how to dial 911, etc.)
29. Teach your child his/her address, phone number, and parents' names.
30. Count! Utilize natural opportunities that arise.