Discussing the Solar Eclipse in the Early Years

Americans last saw a total solar eclipse two decades ago. This Monday, on August 21, 2017, we will be able to see a solar eclipse for the first time in decades. This is also the first solar eclipse to move from coast to coast since 1918.

The eclipse is an ideal time to engage your child about the solar system and inspire awe in our universe. The eclipse will occur between 11:46 – 2:45 PM Central. The maximum eclipse is visible around 1:16 PM  Central.  In Houston, at 1:16 PM, we will be able to see a Partial Solar Eclipse. This is not the same as the total solar eclipse, which will be seen across 14 other states.

Below are our favorite resources to help guide a conversation with your child about the eclipse:

  • Explaining the Eclipse

We recommend discussing an eclipse with children who understand that (1) the earth is a planet composed of land and water (2) a moon revolves around the earth and (3) a shadow is formed when an object blocks light. Here are some fun songs and visuals to guide your discussion of the eclipse:

From 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, enjoy the Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at the Children’s Museum of Houston.  Children can take part in various museum activities, including a “Pinhole Viewer Workshop” ($5.00) and enjoy special activities exploring the solar system.

Watch the solar eclipse from the comfort of your own home (without the special glasses!).

Safety first. Don’t forget to use special glasses when viewing the eclipse. Don’t have the glasses? No worries! Make some!

Never photograph the eclipse when the Moon is directly covering the sun without safety precautions.

The Burke Baker Planetarium will offer a special schedule featuring six 15 minute shows about the eclipse. These will run at 12:00, 12:20, 12:40, 1:00, 1:20, and 1:40, and tickets will be $4. The 2:00 show is a special Starry Night Express featuring a live feed from Casper, Wyoming, with Museum staff in the path of totality.

Photo © NASA

One Student at a Time

Education, although a local issue, affects both economic and political issues nationally and globally. Harvard Graduate School of Education Ford Foundation Professor of Practice Professor Fernando Reimers recently released the book One Student at a Time: Leading the Global Education Movement, which profiles 60 global education leaders and their journeys in education, including our Director of Innovation and Global Strategy Mr. Kevin Kalra.

The book discusses how best to improve the world through education and summarizes professional challenges faced by leaders from around the world in improving education quality. The book also shares ten lessons to engender change in education globally including leading ethically and collaborating across sectors.

On writing the book, Professor Reimers said, “I am persuaded that the global expansion of the opportunity to be educated, which has taken place since education was included as a universal human right seventy years ago, is a remarkable achievement which constructed a shared experience for humanity. This shared experience is rooted in the aspiration to expand freedom and equality, the tenets of a global project that gave rise to democracy, public education and the modern university.”

Kevin’s chapter discusses his journey into Montessori education – and his work in publishing the UN’s first guide on business engagement in education. Formerly working with companies engaged with the United Nations on education, Kevin advised global CEOs and their philanthropic leadership on social investments in girls’ education and refugee education – all issues directly affecting US programs and investments.

Arne Duncan, former US Secretary of Education said, “This is a highly valuable read and useful study of the challenges and opportunities that those advancing education for all around the globe face. A must read for all education leaders interested in freedom and justice.”

Wendy Kopp, CEO and co-founder of Teach for All, said: “This book is a testament to the power of intentional efforts to cultivate educational leadership — leadership with the values, mindsets, skills, and understandings to effect transformation, leadership that is both locally rooted and globally informed…”

Buy the book: http://amzn.to/2ujyGk5

Huffington Post OpEd by Professor Fernando Reimers: http://bit.ly/2vJCaRx

Towards Independence: Drop Off and Pick Up

One of the most critical learning outcomes in a Montessori environment is independence.

Here are our top 10 tips for Drop Off/Pick Up that encourage independence:

TIP 1: Send positive vibes. Before going to school, remind your child that school is an exciting new experience. Include a friendly note in their lunch bag.

TIP 2: Drop Off/Pick Up is not Parking. If you need time to speak with our Montessori Directresses, please park in our parking lot and not in front of the school. Avoid speaking about your child in front of them. They are aware of the conversation.

Parents are most welcome to stay and observe the cameras or drop in later during the day. We recommend observing at least one week after the child’s first day to allow time for a child to settle into class. Please drive slowly. Remember to be courteous to parents in the driveway and be aware of children.

TIP 3: Model social graces. It’s important to say goodbye and hello to your child during drop off/pick up. These pleasantries mark a transition from home to school as well as model good social behaviors. We will prompt your child to do the same.

TIP 4: Arrive on time. Tardiness can create anxiety for children. They also miss opportunities for leadership in the classroom. If you’re running late, please let us know. Our school day begins at 8:30 AM.

TIP 5: Be quick and cheerful. We recommend a prompt drop off and pick up. Lengthy drop off/pick up can cause confusion and anxiety and disrupt other children in the classroom. Allow your child to walk independently to their classroom.

TIP 6: Do not walk into the classroom. An adult’s presence may upset other children.

TIP 7: Greet your child respectfully. We recommend giving your child your full/undivided attention. Phones can be a distraction when greeting your child. Meet your child’s enthusiasm to see you with a calm voice. Speak softly and encourage normal behavior.

TIP 8: Engage your child about school. Help your child open up about learning by asking good questions.  Avoid open-ended questions like: What did you do in school today? Ask specific questions requiring reflection such as: What made you laugh today?; Did anyone wear a funny t-shirt?; What is a good thing that happened at school today?; Did you cry today?; and Who is your best friend? Why?

TIP 9: Always Sign In and Sign Out. Don’t forget to sign in on the sheets on the Hall Tree.  Follow the same procedure for pick up. This is required by law. Please ensure an authorized adult is signing the document. And remember, it’s not a children’s coloring book 🙂

TIP 10: Encourage walking indoors. Encourage your child to walk. Walking is one of our ground rules in the Montessori classroom, and it promotes safety, concern of others, and a sense of calm in the classroom. Of course, we have fun and run outside!

28th International Montessori Congress

Our love and best wishes to our friends and colleagues at the 28th International Montessori Congress in Prague, Czech Republic.

The International Montessori Congress is a large-scale educational congress. Ever since Maria Montessori established the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in 1929,  congresses have taken place regularly to share best practice, discuss new insights, and renew our commitment to Montessori education.  The Congress inspires and encourages growth, development and action on personal, local and global levels.

AMI is the custodian and cultivator of Montessori philosophy and pedagogy, seeking to maintain the integrity of Dr. Maria Montessori’s legacy and increase capacity to serve children around the world.

The goal of the Congress is to raise worldwide awareness and understanding of Montessori
education, as well as to provide a platform for Montessori professionals to connect with one another. Since 1929, only twenty-seven Congresses have taken place around the world. The 2017 Congress will demonstrate that Montessori is an educational approach guided by the natural laws of human development, which enables all human beings to become agents of positive social change. The Congress will inspire a universal effort. Through dialogue, solidarity and collaboration each participant will come away with practical tools to effectively impact their respective social communities.

Text adapted from Association Montessori Interanationale.

An Award-Winning Preschool

As we complete our 20th anniversary, Montessori Preschool @ Copperfield was recognized as one of the best preschools in Houston. And the awards have continued in 2017.

We were  named one of the top Preschools in Houston in 2016 and 2017. Out of 462 preschools, Expertise.com named us as one of the top in the city based on reputation, credibility, experience, availability, and professionalism.

In 2016 and 2017, we were recognized by ThreeBestRated.com as one of the top 3 preschools across Houston, and we were the only Montessori school selected in Houston. We were chosen based on our history, parent trust, and general excellence.

We were also nominated by H-E-B as one of the best preschools in Texas as part of H-E-B’s Excellence in Education Awards.  The awards recognize excellence in Kindergarten readiness and education quality.

Thank you to our wonderful faculty, our Montessori families, and local community for their ongoing support to deliver authentic Montessori education to the children of Northwest Houston and Cypress.

Photo ©  Brad.K

Exploring Egypt

We welcomed Samuel’s mom to conclude our study of Egypt. She discussed Egypt’s ancient past and its physical geography, and she also shared cultural artifacts with our children. She brought activity packs – with coloring sheets and a key to decipher Heiroglyphics – for all of our students.

Next week, we’ll start our safari in Kenya! Be sure to check out our mini Montessori camps as we, we travel around the world.


5th Annual Children’s Art Show

In March 2017, over 200 Cy-Fair residents joined our 5th Annual Children’s Art Show – Deep in the Heart of Texas. The art work celebrated the diverse culture and rich economic history of the second largest state in the United States. Each child worked one-on-one with our Montessori Art Directress to create their painting, showcasing their creativity and skills in color blending and composition.

The event featured Face Painting and a Photo Booth coordinated by Alumni Parent Susan Mcleroy and the launch of Cy-Fair’s first Tinker Fair, developed by Budding Engineers. The event also included a specialty Mocktail Bar, with custom drinks crafted by Mixologist Niel Ahuja, and a Book Fair led by parent volunteers.