Entries in hiking (2)

Tuesday
Sep012015

Children's House Montessori School of Reston: Offering a Unique Experience and an Authentic Montessori Education 

Each school in Northern Virginia offers something unique. When you are searching for a preschool for your child, it can be difficult to identify exactly what sets one school apart from another. So, we're going to make it easy and tell you what makes Children's House Montessori School (CHMS) of Reston so wonderful.

Our community is unique in it's own way - our families enjoy being involved in the school and it is not uncommon for families to form lifelong friendships during the time that their children are in our care. Our families return year after year, child after child - many have trusted us with 3 or more children, have been with us for 5-8 years or more. Our teachers are dedicated, educated, experienced with children, and all are Montessori trained. Our teachers make a difference in our community - in an area as transient as Northern Virginia, it's not common for all of the teachers to return to the same classroom year after year, but at CHMS they do. 

Our family community is strong because we have wonderful families of course, but we also believe in offering opportunities to spend time getting to know one another through events such as the Ice Cream Social and Parent Coffee at the beginning of each year, our fall and spring festivals, the eagerly awaited Parent Day, and the best of the best - our Annual Family Camping Trip - where memories are made that will stick with both the children and their parents for many years to come. It is truly a wonderful experience. 

In addition to our one of a kind community, we put a great deal of thought and effort into providing opportunities for children to explore and appreciate nature through the natural playscapes that we've added to our playground, creating several habitat gardens, a six week fall and spring gardening curriculum, and weekly educational hikes. If you are a lover of the outdoors, appreciate nature, and want your child to learn to love nature and value time spent outside, then you'll appreciate our unique focus on nature.

Our weekly "specials" go beyond traditional extras to offer educational enhancements to our curriculum. In addition to the previously mentioned educational hiking that we do each week as part of "specials," we also offer a spectacular Montessori music program, which Ms. Karen (assistant director) puts together for us each year. The children learn to read, play, and understand music. Classical music and classical musicians are integrated into our daily activites from preschool through kindergarten, and annually we have two music shows for the parents - one during the holiday program and one during the Kindergarten Art Show. Our third weekly "special" is Spanish. We bring in a fluent Spanish-speaking teacher to work with the children throughout the year to introduce them to a new language.

In addition to community, our focus on creating nature-based education, and weekly specials, we also integrate the Virtues Project into our daily interactions. Teaching virtues has made a significant positive impact on our environment. If you observe our classrooms and playground, one of the first things you'll notice is that the children take these virtues to heart and practice them in every interaction - they are cooperative, helpful, thoughtful, respectful, and kind to everyone around them and it shows by how peacefully they work and play together. The Virtues Project is a remarkable program that we are happy to offer.

The final unique program that we offer is one that starts as soon as the children enter the school and is integrated into the classroom throughout their three years with us - it is our focus on art appreciation. In the preschool and pre-k years, the children learn about artists, are introduced to famous works of art, and have ample opportunity to try a variety of art materials. But it is the kindergarten art appreciation classes and annual Kindergarten Art Show that provide the exceptional experience in art appreciation at CHMS. In kindergarten, the children receive art lessons, learn in depth information about 10 or so artists, and create their own replicas of famous art work. Our children leave CHMS with a thorough understanding and appreciation of art history, and we're told that many of them continue in their love of the arts long after they've moved on to elementary school.

We hope that you've clicked on the links throughout this blog post to learn more about what makes Children's House Montessori School of Reston so special. We welcome your questions via phone or email (703-481-6678 or Keturah@childrenshouse-montessori.com), and look forward to getting to know the new families who will join our CHMS community this year.

 

Tuesday
Aug182015

Weekly Hiking at CHMS


"Let nature be your teacher"
- William Wordsworth

Children are curious about the natural world around them - and there is no better way to teach them about nature and natural processes than to take them to where they are surrounded by it and encourage them to explore and learn - climb over fallen logs, smell the flowers, listen to birds and frogs and crickets, examine lichen and fungus, search for forest animals and insects, turn over logs and rocks to discover things they've never seen before and talk about what they find.

Every Friday, we put on our rain boots and set out on an adventure into the wooded area behind our school. We have two teachers on each hike, which allows us to talk to the children in small groups about what we see and hear. Down the hill, through the stream, under and over tree branches we go in search of new discoveries.

Our hikes are one of the most anticipated events of the week at CHMS. We take a relaxing, leisurely walk and make frequent stops to learn about what lives in the woods and to search for signs of life in nature. When we can, we walk down to the stream to search for frogs, tadpoles, and minnows and the children love to stomp through the water and explore in their rain boots.

If you get a chance to take your child out into the woods this fall, ask them to show/tell you all about what they learn on our hikes. They'll thoroughly enjoy it and you will too!