stories of discovery

Welcome to North Star Montessori’s blog.  Stories of Discovery is a place where faculty, students and parents share knowledge, experiences and things that motivate and inspire us.

Trying to Keep Up With Technology

Categories: Learning through discovery, Uncategorized
Authored by:
Date posted: March 8, 2019

It is becoming harder and harder to keep up with ever changing and evolving technology. With news of self-driving cars and one day living on Mars, it is difficult to stay present with what is happening right under our own roof.

The idea of children embracing technology is one of most challenging topics to address. With the society we are living in today, it is inevitable that children will be exposed to gaming and social media at some point during their childhood. As parents, caregivers and teachers it is our responsibility to research and understand as much as possible about the benefits and risks that it may present.

Setting limits and boundaries for the children is vital to maintain some control over the use of devices, apps and video games. If you’re thinking your child is too young, continue reading, it is best to be prepared and know what your family’s boundaries are before situations arise in the future. I recently came across a blog that explained the 9 Screen Time Rules Every Family Needs. Feel free to use the link at the bottom of the page to connect to the blog where they have a number of blogs about social media and gaming, including the pros and cons of the popular game Fortnite. The suggested rules are as follows;

  1. Custom Rules for Each Child

Every child is different and as such, different rules may be appropriate. Whether those differences come in age or in maturity, parents should take the time to carefully consider what will work for each of their children. Some kids may need more guidance as to what kind of content is appropriate, while others may just need better limitations as to how much screen time is okay.


  1. Strive for Balance

Screen time is an amazing tool that can have so many uses and benefits for kids, but too much of anything is never a good thing. According to studies, increased screen time can lead to depression, higher BMIs, and poor sleep. Setting limits can teach your kids how to use screens and social media in a mindful way. Encourage your kids to have other interests and hobbies that don’t include tech and help them become more well-rounded individuals.


  1. Use Technology to Reinforce Real Life Skills

Learning can be enriched with technology when used in moderation and it can be an effective tool in assisting with homework and further learning. The Internet and screens can also be a great place to learn valuable life skills. Kids can become better communicators, learn the values of team work while playing games, and it can even help kids build confidence as they earn badges or increase their score.


  1. Actively Engage During Screen Time

Actively engaging with your kids during their screen time use can make it much more enriching for everyone involved. Not only do you and your kids get in some great bonding time but it’s great for parents to be able to understand what their children are doing online. Whether that’s playing a video game or learning about a new topic, it can be something that you both remember for the rest of your life.


  1. Set Good Examples

You know how the old saying goes… “practice what you preach”. How we can expect our kids to follow rules if we are not doing the same? While standards and rules will vary a bit between different members of the family, there are some things that parents should make sure they are doing consistently. Make sure to minimize distractions from your phone so that you can fully be present when talking with or participating in an activity with your kids. Making eye contact and listening to what your children have communicated will set a proper example for phone etiquette.


  1. Create Places and Times That are Tech-Free

Creating tech-free zones in your home is a great opportunity to allow for time and space to connect as a family. In the dining room and at meal times are great times for your family to all be together at once and talk about the day without the distraction of technology.

Bedrooms are also a great idea for a tech-free zone. Keeping bedrooms tech-free makes it easy to supervise what your family is doing online and also prevents kids from spending too much time scrolling through their phones late into the night.


  1. Diversify Screen Time

While too much screen time in general isn’t a good thing, there are some benefits to making sure your family gets to experience a multitude of online activities. Games can be highly addicting and substituting forms of educational or entertainment screen time can be an easy way of hitting pause on addictive tendencies without taking away screen time altogether.


  1. Use Technology as a Tool, Not a Crutch

Using technology as a babysitter to earn yourself a few free minutes in the afternoon can quickly go downhill. Technology is great way for both parents and kids to relax but depending on it too much can set your family up for tech addiction.

Without realizing it, adults and kids alike reach for screens and whenever we have a free second and it has become second nature for us to depend on our screens for entertainment, procrastination, and approval from our peers. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and we really don’t want it to, so we have to strive to find some middle ground where we can use technology in positive and fun ways without letting it consume us.


  1. Do Your Homework

As important as it is to set rules for your kids regarding screen time and the type of content that you allow your kids to access, it is equally as important for parents to do their due diligence. Before agreeing to let your child download a new app, parents should take time to explore the apps, games, and social platforms that their kids are interested in using.


In doing so, you not only have the ability to determine if they are age and content appropriate, but you can also create the opportunity to connect with your child through the activities that engage them online or in-app.


Please watch out for an upcoming parent discussion night on gaming and social media, where you will have the opportunity to share your experiences as parents and discuss what works for your family. We will also hand out more information about applications to be aware of on your children’s devices and talk more about video games with a special focus on using them to connect as a family.


The ‘9 Screen Time Rules For Every Family’ was written by David Savage and taken from


Keeping Practical Life Practical

Categories: Faculty insight, Learning through discovery, Student life, Uncategorized
Authored by:
Date posted: November 6, 2018

The Practical Life area in the Montessori classroom is one of the key ways to help a child achieve normalization. This area is the basis for all the rest. It directly and indirectly prepares the children for all the Sensorial, Language, and Mathematics activities. The skills that the child learns through the Practical Life activities will help them be successful in everyday life. And, they must begin right away, from the moment the child enters the classroom!


The dictionary states that ‘practical’ is an adjective, meaning:

Of or pertaining to practice or action,

Consisting of, involving, or resulting from practice or action,

Of, pertaining to, or concerned with ordinary activities,

Adapted or designed for actual use.


So in general, we can say that in the Montessori environment, the Practical Life area is where the child ‘practices’ life. What does that mean? For us, Practical Life includes all of the activities that we do to survive.  These are activities that we do to ourselves and to the environment such as dressing and undressing, preparing food, washing dishes, etc. These activities help us to care for ourselves and others, and also help us to provide hospitality and courtesy as a form of human expression.


There are three main purposes of Practical Life:


  1. Adaptation-

Introducing these activities of daily living to children help in assisting their adaptation into their particular environment. Adaptation is one of the main necessities of human beings in order to develop. Without adaptation, the human will not be able to function in his environment. Adaptation is the starting point in our work with the child. The child will be able to incarnate the environment and make it a part of him. The child is making himself Canadian, Mexican, Indonesian, etc., adapting to whatever environment he or she is living in.


These Practical Life activities are present in every single culture around the world. Children show great interest in this and are drawn to these activities. Their motivation is purely for developmental reasons, which produce a positive outcome if they are allowed to participate.


What changes with these Practical Life activities is the way that the different groups of people perform them. Our needs as human beings are the same; just the way in which we perform these activities in our culture differ from group to group.


  1. Independence:

The Practical Life activities have been part of the child’s life since the moment they were born. These activities sometimes were done to the child such as feeding, bathing, or changing, and sometimes were done around the child such as making the bed, washing the clothes, etc.


Through these activities, the child begins to acknowledge his own needs and the particular way in which these needs are satisfied in his own environment. Aided by the Absorbent Mind, the child will then come to understand how to take care of his own needs. He will get the sense “I am worth it”.


The physically prepared environment assists the child’s development of independence in the Montessori classroom. As we can say, external order creates internal order. Our materials are set out logically in order from simple to complex, with each activity being self-contained within itself for greater independence. The materials are child-size, colour-coded, and provide the child with a control of error which lets him or her be aware of when a mistake is made – independently.


  1. Control of Movement:

During the first 3 years of life, the child’s movement changes dramatically. From being basically motionless as a newborn, the child within the first year learns to slither, crawl, pull up, stand, and then walk. Over the next few years the child works at perfecting this gross motor skill, along with finding greater coordination with his or her fine motor ability.


Children need to be active learners, not passive. Children experience their work through doing, especially through the connection between the hand and the brain.


By experiencing the real activities of Practical Life, we are helping the child achieve greater coordination between the mind and the body, which leads to normalization through a purposeful goal.


The Practical Life activities encourage children to develop concentration, which also helps in the refinement on movement. The activities have a set sequence with a beginning, middle, and end, which grow in complexity as the child progresses through the materials.

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