Autism Awareness – Montessori and Children with Autism

The Montessori pedagogy supports individualized programming for children, which is of great benefit  for children on the Autism spectrum. Children are responsible for choosing their ‘work.’ focusing their time and effort for as long as they require in order to feel comfortable with it, and for mastery of the skill. This allows them to have autonomy in their learning experience. 

As described from a parent’s perspective from the Age of Montessori:

“The prepared environment of the Montessori classroom provides a consistent (children with autism do not like change,) safe environment where children can benefit from watching other children choose and participate in activities before they get involved themselves. This is very important for Autism-spectrum kids; they will usually prefer to observe many times before they make their own attempt. In the Montessori classroom, this is acceptable, even encouraged, and children are never forced into an activity.”

In Montessori,  children are able to recognize and attend to their own needs and be in an environment that supports this process. 

To read more about the benefits of Montessori for children with Autism check out How Montessori Benefits Children with Autism: 5 Resources for You

At MCS we strive to ensure our curriculum and environments are prepared to support inclusivity. 

If you would like to learn more about why the Montessori method and MCS might be best for your children please visit our website to schedule an inquiry.

April is recognized as Autism Awareness month and April 2nd is recognized as World Autism Awareness Day. To learn more about Autism awareness and how you can show your support visit www.autismspeaks.org

Spring is blooming – Get into the Spring spirit with these activities!

At our MCS campuses, located in Milton and Nobleton, we are so lucky to be surrounded by nature, allowing our staff and students first hand experiences in environmental changes and wildlife. Our students enjoy investigating the outdoor world around them especially exploring seasonal changes as they occur. Maria Montessori believed that a child was an astute and spontaneous observer of nature; this is why at MCS we foster a learning environment that  allows independent and guided exploration outdoors and encourage this to continue on at home. We are suggesting three activities families can engage in for the exploration into Spring and help cultivate your child’s curiosity.

1.       Nature Scavenger Hunt
Going on a nature scavenger hunt with your family allows your children to explore the environment around them and identify found objects. This builds cognitive skills as well as interpersonal skills through independent exploration and discovery. You will  find spring themed scavenger hunt sheets HERE.

2.       Sound Walk
With Spring in the air we’re all itching to get outside and a sound walk is the perfect opportunity for the whole family to get out. Grab a pen/pencil and paper and go for a Covid-19 safe walk in your neighborhood or favourite community hiking spot. Throughout the walk mark, pay close attention to what you hear around you and record this. You can also take time to draw these out. For some great sound walk activity sheets click HERE.

3.       Gardening/Planting
This activity is sure to get your children excited about spring. Planting provides many educational and developmental benefits for children. Their motor skills are exercised by engaging in planting and watering using a variety of tools. By maintaining the plant; feeding and watering it; it supports them in building a sense of ownership.  To find steps for outdoor planting/gardening click HERE and for indoor gardening/planting click HERE.

These are only a few of the many great activities to get you started this spring in encouraging your children to get outside and explore their surroundings. 

At MCS we spend a lot of our time outdoors and feel fortunate to be located on grounds that lend themselves to investigation and enjoyment!  Please visit our website to learn more about our MCS Milton and Nobleton campuses.

We LOVE Our MCS Frontline Superheroes!

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in several ways and in particular,  it has altered the education sector significantly. During these uncertain times our MCS faculty, students and their families have demonstrated resilience, adaptability and acceptance of new protocols and methods of program delivery. Our MCS educators have been true heroes, working hard to ensure the safety of everyone in our MCS communities, providing an adapted Montessori curriculum for our students and, doing it all with our values at the forefront. They have proven to be a beacon of strength and light in this time of uncertainty, doing everything they can to ensure the school environment remains one our students can continue to thrive in. 

 We would like to take some time now to show our support and appreciation for our educators –   our  frontline workers! 

Here are three ways to show your appreciation!

1.       Write a letter
Sometimes the greatest way to express gratitude and appreciation can be in a simple note or letter. Whether it’s via email or a handwritten note, kind words will show your appreciation and will be just what our frontline workers need.

2.       Make a sign for your front yard or window
Grab your glitter and markers and make a decorative sign for your front yard or window to celebrate the frontline workers in your community. 

3.       Show some kindness
Appreciation can be observed in the little things as well and will bring a smile to those receiving. Remembering to show patience and kindness and thank frontline workers when you see them.

MCS will be expressing our appreciation for our frontline staff by showcasing their ‘Superhero Powers’. We will be highlighting our faculty this month on our Instagram account. Follow @montessoricountryschool on Instagram to see our Superheroes in Action!

Why Montessori?

It’s Montessori Education week, and we’re enjoying honouring the importance of this week at MCS! Students are engaged in learning the history of Maria Montessori through stories; working on timelines and reflections and having fun with crafts. But why is there all this focus on Maria Montessori and Montessori Education? What sets it apart from public education? How is it beneficial? 

1.       We value each child as a unique individual.

We recognize that learning takes place in different ways and through varied learning styles. We allow our students to learn at their own pace, and allow them to advance when they are ready. This is guided by the materials, supported by their teachers and, through designed individual learning plans.

2.       From an early age, Montessori nurtures order, concentration, and independence.

Our classroom environments, materials and routines are all created with the intention to support our student’s self-regulation.

3.       Students are part of a close and caring community.

Our students are part of a school community that works together to cultivate learning in our environments and supports each other to build strong foundations of Grace and Courtesy in the development of our students.

4.       Students are able to enjoy their freedom within limits.

A key component of the Montessori education is the freedom students are granted to learn and work within their classroom community. Students are given the freedom to make their own decisions with guidance from our teachers in respect to their learning.

5.       Students are supported throughout their journey in becoming active seekers of knowledge.

Our students are given the materials and support they need to pursue answers to their questions. We find that internal satisfaction drives student’s curiosity and interests and results in joyful learning.

6.       Self-correction and self-assessment are important parts of the Montessori approach.

Students are encouraged to learn internally and look at their work critically, to adapt and grow. This helps build their skills for learning but also for self-development.

7.       Montessori supports social-emotional skills.

Contemporary research supports the 100-year-old Montessori Method’s effectiveness, indicating that children who learn in Montessori classrooms demonstrate stronger social-emotional skills in many areas than children in more traditional environments.  

There are several benefits to a Montessori Education, but the primary focus that we deliver at The Montessori Country School  is the care for our students, the emphasis on enrichment and growth. 

We invite you to visit our website and book an inquiry to learn more.

Happy Montessori Education Week!

5 Tips for At Home Lunches

Let’s face it, when at-home learning began the thought ‘this is great I don’t have to make lunches every morning now’ definitely popped into our heads once or twice. However, now in the second wave we’ve all come back down to reality and realized that stopping the work day or being interrupted in the middle of our tasks to make a kid-friendly lunch is not ideal!

Here are 5 tips and tricks to make lunches easier, quicker and dare I say tastier? Take a look!

  1. Keep it simple
    A great way to save some time during your day is to cut some veggies and fruit the night before or morning of and pull these out for every lunch. This way your sides are taken care of and this can be done once every few days to save you some extra time. These can also double as great snacks during the day for when your kiddos (or yourselves) need something to munch on!
  2. Sandwiches are never out of the question.
    Sandwiches are a great meal to toss together in the morning and save your day from being interrupted. They can be made with almost any combination and are super easy to cater to any dietary restrictions as well. You can also spice these up by subbing in a tortilla wrap or lettuce leaves for your bread, or using a panini press for a gourmet touch.
  3. Think about the pasta-bilities!
    Pasta salads are another easy, quick, and customizable option that is easy to prepare the night before or morning of. A great way to get in veggies and proteins (beans, chickpeas and tofu are a great vegetarian option!) and add in great flavours with different sauces or dressings. This is also a great option for our picky eaters out there as it is super easy to remove and add in what each kid likes and dislikes, respectively.
  4. We’re soup-er excited for this one!
    For the colder winter days, soups and stews are great lunches to make the night before and easily reheated in the microwave or on the stove in a few minutes. Another easy and customizable option, soups and stews are great with several ways to make them. Whole wheat crackers or whole wheat toast goes great with this delicious and fast option.
  5. Treat yourself!
    Lastly, take a break occasionally and order in. Just because you didn’t make it, that doesn’t mean it needs to be any less nutritional and wholesome. Check out Wholesome GO and try some of their mini meals, a perfect kid friendly lunch, delivered right to your door ready-to-heat and serve.

Like all meals lunches are supposed to be delicious and nutritious – so don’t sweat the little stuff. At home learning is an adjustment for everyone, so let’s focus on taking it one meal at a time.

Stay safe, stay well, and let’s continue to nourish minds (and stomachs).

5 Hacks for At-Home Learning

Let’s face it, at home learning isn’t necessarily easy, especially for parents and children experiencing it for the first time. Schedules get changed, time to yourself now truly feels like a myth and it often feels like there’s no time to get any work done. It can be hard to separate work life from parenting life as it is, and now that can feel 10 times harder.  Here are 5 hacks to help you get through at-home learning with your little ones – one very patient and calm step at a time.

  1. Scheduling is Everything!
    It takes a lot of your plate as parents (doubling as school monitor) if your child knows and can see where and what they should be doing throughout the school day. Printing out their class schedule and posting it near their desk or workspace helps them take ownership and responsibility so that they don’t need to ask you 8 times a day. You can take this one step further and plan out a routine or schedule with your child for their full days including after school. Check out this great guide to building Routine Charts for Home Learning to help you get started.
  2. Time to get a watch!
    Keeping a big clock near your child’s workspace can be helpful for them to keep time and track of where they are in their school schedule, when they’re supposed to come back from recess, etc. Not only does this help your kids become organized with their time but it also might save you from hearing the infamous words ‘oh, I didn’t know recess was done’ followed by a sly face that’s too cute to get mad at.
  3. Pack lunches and snacks
    Preparing lunch and snacks for your kids in the morning can save you a lot of time during the day. Preparing and keeping in an accessible place in the kitchen allows your kids to know where to go to get their lunch and snack and gives you that extra 20 minutes during the day.
  4. Set yourself up the night before.
    Doing some preparations the night before can make all the difference the next day. Making sure that your kids school materials, homework assignments, and school supplies needed for the day is laid out the night before can help your kids stay on track and be aware of where everything is, helping to avoid my favourite statement – ‘I can’t find it!!’
  5. Take it day by day
    Lastly, take it day by day. This is new territory for most so don’t be too hard on yourselves. Take every day as a learning experiment and find what works for you. Have a look at this helpful tool, 80 Practical Life Activities for Your Toddler During Covid-19, for more ideas to create a system that works for you. The most important thing is that we support each other and get through this together.

Stay safe, stay well & let’s do this together!

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Hi, My Name Is…Rosalie!

The Montessori Country School is a leading provider of Montessori education held up by it’s phenomenal teachers, administrators, and staff. So we think it’s time you meet them!

Say hello to Rosalie De Francesca.
Rosalie is the Admissions Director & Vice Principal of our Nobleton Campus. Rosalie guides new families through the process of registering and onboarding, welcoming them to the MCS Community.

What inspired you to become a teacher? I enjoy working and teaching children, the Montessori Philosophy, and exploration of the Activities & Apparatus!

How long have you been at the Montessori Country School? 19 years.

What is the best thing about working at MCS? The beautiful country ground and dedication to the authenticity of the Montessori Education!

What is your favourite MCS event? International Day & Maria Montessori Week.

What is the most memorable moment at MCS so far? Observing both of my own children experience the journey at MCS in all levels of Toddler, Casa, & Elementary!

What do you hope to provide for your students? A safe, happy and consistent place to learn and grow.

My favourite place to be, in the classroom observing the children learn and grow. I started teaching in the Casa classroom at MCS in the fall of 2002 and spent 16 years learning and growing before transitioning into my administrative role. This is where I developed all the tools and experience to prepare for my position today as Vice Principal at the Nobleton Campus and Admissions Director for MCS schools!

Our MCS family is dedicated to learning, growing and enriching lives & we’re excited for you to join the family!

January 15, 2021

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New Year, New Plans

We often believe that learning begins with our ABC’s and 123’s however this is not where it ends. An important component of learning amongst toddlers and young children is our fundamental skillset. This includes organization and planning and with the new year there is never a better time to start. At MCS this learning furthers in the classroom, however majority of it takes place at home. Organization helps children come up with a plan and follow through to get work done and with at home learning becoming more necessary this is a necessary component to set children up for success. Organization allows kids to increasingly become more independent and helps students learn and retain information. There are great benefits, short term and long term, to helping your child become more organized, so let’s start talking about how.

The basis of organization begins with the little things.

  • Assist your child in cultivating a habit of building checklists or to – do lists, this helps in providing a visual aid of things that need to be done
  • Build a schedule with your child for their day, including time for homework, for play, naps, etc. This is a great tool to help them learn how to organize time.
  • Creating designated work spaces for school work helps keep school separate, allowing them to have better focus and concentration – this is a great tip for our virtual program students!
  • Creating easy to use and do it yourself stations with your child for their belongings allows them to develop independency and by having specific locations of their toys, school supplies, sports equipment, etc. and it allows them to understand an organization element.

These are just a few tips of many, and with whatever tools and resources work best for your family we’re all in this together. Included HERE is our MCS planning guide, follow along with us or make your own!

Happy New Year to our MCS community! We’re hoping this year brings brightness, smiles and eager minds to our MCS friends.

Happy Planning!

Posted: January 7, 2021

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Around the world in 60 minutes – International Day at MCS

On Friday, November 27th, Montessori Country School celebrated International Day, inviting our MCS families to join us – virtually – for a trip around the world. During the few weeks leading up to International Day, students in each class researched their designated countries and created presentations about different aspects of the cultures to share with families. Students and families documented their journey with ‘passports’ made by the students and virtual presentations of each country. With all the cancelled vacations and postponed sight seeing, our International Day journey was exactly what we needed. Students learned and experienced different countries and cultures and we all felt like we were -sitting in an Irish pub or visiting the Taj Mahal or participating in a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

International Day display
Students presenting about the United States of America
Student’s flag of India
Practicing walking in Japanese Geta
Casa Ireland Display
Study of Japanese flag

Creepin’ It Real

The students, families and staff at Montessori Country School had a fang-tastic time this past weekend during our virtual Halloween celebration. We called all ghouls and goblins of the Milton and Nobleton Campuses for a spooky costume parade, to sing creepy songs and participate in some festive activities.

Finding ways to keep our students engaged and create a cultivating environment, we sent students home with kits to participate in some Halloween themed crafts and a fan favourite science experiment. Creating a chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda, students ooo-ed, ah-ed and laughed at their explosive plastic-baggie pumpkins.

Not only an event to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve, this was an event to bring together our community during this time of social distancing and be together once again. On a spectacular day celebrated with wonderful costumes and giant smiles, families and staff were united in the spirit of Halloween. Boo-yah!

Some of our MCS staff showing off their costumes for our Halloween parade! Boo!
A hallway at MCS decorated in the Halloween spirit!

Posted: November 4, 2020

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