Celebrate Earth Day Outdoors

Celebrate Earth Day Outdoors

Winfield Children’s House is fortunate to have a beautiful wooded campus and playgrounds with mature shade trees and plenty of room to run and play. Across the street, we can access a beautiful loop trail in the Falmouth Town Forrest with hills, streams, rock formations, bridges and vernal pools. As we approach school vacation week and the holidays of Earth Day and Arbor Day, let’s reflect on deepening the connection of children to the natural world. One way teachers from the Maine Montessori Institute connect with this issue is through the work of author Richard Louv. His influential book Last Child in the Woods is required reading for the Montessori teacher training. From his website: Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard. Here is video of an interview with author Richard Louv: What are some of the ways your family chooses to connect with nature? What are some of the benefits it brings to your child? Here are some local resources that provide ways for families to spend time in nature, grow their knowledge of the natural world and have fun: Falmouth Land Trust – a listing of trails in Falmouth for walking, biking and exploring Royal River Conservation Trust – list of preserve land in Yarmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth and New Gloucester Portland Trails – guide to Portland’s urban scenic and wooded trails, search option for stroller friendly trails Gilsland Farm Audubon Center – a gem of a community resource right here in Falmouth! Beautiful, easy trails, great education center with restrooms. Offers preschool programs and summer programs for children and...

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How the Young Child Masters Executive Function

How the Young Child Masters Executive Function

The staff who were able to attend the American Montessori Society Annual Conference in Philadelphia this past weekend are returning to school with a wealth of resources about teaching and learning. One term that was popular in workshops and keynotes was “executive function.” The latest research in neuroscience is giving educators a lot of insight into how the brain learns. A metaphor for executive function is the “air-traffic control” of the brain. In other words, the mechanisms that allow concentration, organization, flexibility and the ability to filter distractions. Research is showing these abilities are teachable. Montessori programs are able to provide an environment to let these skills unfold with the long, uninterrupted work time and age-appropriate materials that isolate skills and allow for independent discovery. Twin Parks Montessori in New York City shared this excellent video explaining more about executive function in young children. If you would like to learn more about how to support your child in developing executive function, you may wish to mark your calendar for an upcoming lecture sponsored by the Maine Montessori Association and North Yarmouth Academy. It’s offered by psychologist Stephen Hughes and entitled, “Building Better Brains.” The event will take place Friday, March 26, from 6:30-8pm at the North Yarmouth Academy Savage Middle School Gymnasium. The event is free and open to the public. If you aren’t able to make it to the lecture, you may wish to bookmark this video from Dr. Hughes website. Building Better Brains from Steve Hughes on...

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Parenting Resource: Simplicity Parenting

Parenting Resource: Simplicity Parenting

  A Winfield teacher and parent shared an article about creating balance for your child at home. It’s called the “The Four Pillars of Simplicity” from the Simplicity Parenting blog. Many of the ideas suggested in the article are similar to the philosophy Montessori teachers utilize to prepare the classroom and curriculum for your child.   Simplicity Parenting is a resource created by Massachusetts educator and family counselor Kim John Payne. If you and your family are feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do in this busy world, this might be of interest.   Feel free to share your favorite parent resources with your child’s teacher.   The photo above is a public domain image “A family having fun” by Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

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Infant Program Enrolling for June 2015

Infant Program Enrolling for June 2015

Winfield Children’s House is proud of the success of our newest program, the Bambini classroom for children ages 6 months to 16 months. Limited space is available now and we are enrolling families to start the program in June when older children transition into the Toddler House programs. Please call to learn more about our specific infant program options and to arrange for a personal tour of the classroom and our school. You can reach us during regular business hours at...

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Toddler to Children’s House Transition

Toddler to Children’s House Transition

Transitioning from the Toddler House to the Children’s House by Rita Children grow and develop so quickly, and it is a remarkable and wonderful time of change as your child begins to look and act less toddler-like and more like a preschooler. At Winfield, the transition from the Toddler House to the Children’s House may seem daunting to both you and your child. You may have questions about how many familiar faces your child will see as he/she begins preschool and what type of support the teachers can offer your child if they struggle with separating from you. You may also wonder what the daily schedule is like, if your child will be supported socially and emotionally, and what they will begin to learn academically. Your child will have an opportunity to visit the preschool classrooms and playground during summer camp and/or during our two Phase-In days shortly before the school year begins. These times will allow your child to meet their new teachers and other children who will be in their class. Fortunately, your child will have already met most of the preschool teachers. They visit the Toddler House for “second circles” to share their specialties and conduct activities with the toddlers on a weekly basis. Also, your child will have met many of the second-year preschoolers who will be in their class. The Winfield teachers have recently increased the amount of activities involving more than one classroom in an effort to build upon the close-knit, community feeling of the school. The preschoolers and toddlers may spend time interacting on the playground, sharing reading activities together, or coming to together to celebrate a holiday. All of the Winfield teachers have experience in helping children separate from their parents. We are here to offer comfort and support to your child, along with consistent parent communication. We will always contact you if your child is upset for a prolonged period of time. The daily schedule for the preschool is similar to the toddler’s schedule. Both schedules offer two morning circles to sing, read, or present new materials. Both have a work time in which children move freely about the classroom to use self-correcting Montessori materials with independence. The work time in the Children’s House may be slightly longer than the Toddler House work time as the children are able to concentrate for longer periods of time. Both schedules offer a lunch and recess that are each thirty minutes long. If your child stays at school for the afternoon program, it is important to know that the rest time in the Children’s House is shorter than in the Toddler House and lasts for approximately forty-five minutes. Although it is not guaranteed...

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The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree

An annual holiday tradition at Winfield Children’s House is to hold a drive to collect gifts for those in need. Each year, Winfield chooses a different local organization that delivers gifts to families in the area. We call this tradition The Giving Tree. Each classroom hangs ornaments that list a kind of gift to donate on a small tree or display. This year, our gifts benefited the Gray-New Gloucester Caring Community. We participated in their Shoebox Giving Program. Families collected small gifts for infants through teenagers and placed them in a wrapped shoebox. We collected all of the shoeboxes and we were astonished by the generosity of families. We were able to give over 60 gifts! Thank you to all of our families for their kindness!!!...

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