Posted by: Arborland staff
on Mar 27, 2013
by Anisa Foy
25 years, seeds of knowledge quietly sowing.
Watching children learning growing.
25 years of dedicated teachers,
Who guide with love, they are not mere preachers.
25 years of making learning so much fun,
The Arborland teachers’ work is never done.
25 years of each individual child respected,
Ensuring the need of every child is accepted.
25 years of molding characters so strong,
Instilling deep understanding of right from wrong.
25 years of prestigious college entries across the nation,
Fills our hearts with much pride and gratification.
As we celebrate our many successes today,
We thank parents, in our success a part you continue to play.
Happy 25th Anniversary, Arborland!
Posted by: Arborland staff
on Jan 17, 2013
By Mrs. Antonina Gershfeld and Ms. Anisa Foy
A very special garden planned,
Where children come to learn and play
And grow smarter every day.
This garden, full of blooming flowers
Unfolding right before your eyes.
They're so unique and full of powers
That each deserves a special prize.
The children are these most important flowers,
They blossom and they continue blooming,
The gardeners strive to make the difference,
At Arborland, the teachers tend the grooming.
Keeping them safe from harsh weather,
Loved and cherished until they're strong.
One by one they grow together,
Always knowing they belong.
The most impressive garden ever,
Filled with endless dreams to be set free.
The constant striving to be clever,
Teachers and learners unlocking mysteries.
Children are taught the basics that they know,
Right from wrong they also learn,
They are taught much more as they grow,
These are the lessons for which they yearn.
Grow and stand, proud and tall,
Reach for the sun, with those faces bright,
Become an agent of peace to lead them all,
These ideas here taught and embraced with delight.
Promoting peace in the world is my destiny,
For this task, Dr. Montessori trusted me.
Preparing for this role along the way,
I was watched, not allowed to stray.
Posted by: Arborland staff
on Apr 03, 2012
BY: Ifra Khoso
For a free America...Liberty and justice for All...
A few days back I had an opportunity to meet with one of the candidates running for LA county Judge. While chatting on many various issues, the main topic of the night drifted towards our youth. It was overwhelming, sorrowful and even scary to learn the demographics as to how our society functions...what with gangsters, drug mafia, graffiti, boys on the streets and then Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, firefighters, mega lotto’s and above all the Law itself.. Where does our youth stand in all this??? Are we living in two parallel worlds???
Raising two children of my own, I question my decisions every day. I read about Travyon Martin and Shaima Alawadi and my heart went out to both the families. How does it all starts? Was among the many questions which popped up. Are we engaging our children in meaningful activities? How does one gets tangled so haphazardly that it’s rigid to find your way back?
From a Parent point of view we do what we can best. Provide them with great home environment all complete with the "i" gadgets... enroll them in the best private schools available in town and take them to visit mickey mouse during spring break. As an educator's point of view this is not enough...My job is not only teaching "academics" or making sure the child is able to read the next level book or do addition and subtraction problems. It goes beyond that.
My 5 year old was reading a biography about Rosa Louise McCauley Parks. She gave me a puzzled look. The look had, if not a hundred at least ten queries clearly posted on her innocent face. More like those questions were prodding my mind and she wanted me to assure her that such a time never existed or does not anymore. I lowered my gaze and tried explaining it to her that " World is a beautiful place" but caught myself amidst realizing that I am guarding her from the truth...the truth she needs to have some knowledge of. I started by explaining how the times were different when Rosa Parks was alive, how skin color, language and religion played a very vital and substantial role in one’s identity. How the times have changed and everybody is “Equal.” She commented, “Rosa had the same skin color as some of my friends in the classroom.” I smiled at her and said, “Sure she did.”
For a 5 year old understanding the complexity of the skin color and making analogies between Rosa Parks and her friends was very simple. What about us adults? We still haven’t figured out that how and where we are born is not our decision but how and what we do is really a choice definitely made by us. When Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous speech, “I have a dream…” little that he knew, over time his speech will only make him an icon on modern American liberalism and a federal holiday. Even now after four decades we are still wondering whether we will witness such a dream in total reality not just in superior echelons. And so the “Dream continues…….
Posted by: Arborland staff
on Oct 29, 2011
When you walk into a Montessori Primary room you may surprised to see the three, four and five year old children working individually and completely involved in what appears to an onlooker as house work! Some are polishing brass objects, some are cutting bananas and serving their friends, then there are some little ones washing a table, or a window. In another area you might see a child buttoning and unbuttoning buttons on a frame, or tying and untying bows! Another surprising aspect you may wonder at is the complete concentration of each child and also the number of times each exercise is repeated. What is going on, shouldn’t they be reciting letters, numbers learning to read, write add and subtract?
The children are involved in “Exercises of Practical Life” which is an integral part of Montessori primary education, and serves an important purpose. The practical life exercises have four main areas:
1. Care of the environment. These include sweeping, dusting, simple food preparation, washing clothes and dishes, and many more such activities that assist in the care of the child’s surroundings.
2. Care of the person (for functional independence). These include all areas of personal care, such as washing hands, dressing and undressing, brushing hair and clothes, polishing shoes. Also included are dressing frames devised by Dr. Montessori which teach the child different types of fastenings which help the child to dress independent of adult help.
3. Social relations. Grace and courtesy exercises which help the child make a connection between self and others in the environment. These are presented very early on as soon as the child comes into the room. They include how to enter a room, how to greet, how to be excused, how to move a chair, in fact all the little niceties necessary for day to day existence in harmony with others. These exercises are presented in the same precise manner and sequence as all of the other exercises, nothing is left to chance. This is the time the child has a great capacity for fixing ideas, and a great need to repeat. We couple the two to assist the child to live comfortably in his surroundings.
4. Analysis and control of movement. The child needs to have a control of his body if he is to perform any of the above with a degree of success. Therefore an analyzed set of movement exercises are also included in the practical life area. These include walking on the line, with variations included, and a series of silence exercises. The latter is meant to make the child aware of his body by being silent.
There are two overall functions of the practical life area:
1. They serve an introduction to a Montessori classroom.
2. They provide a firm foundation for all of the other work the child is going to do.
The practical life exercises provide a source of satisfaction as the child feels he is participating and thus contributing to the adult world. These exercises are very powerful for two main reasons:
1. They are very simple, not complex.
2. They consist of simple visible movements that the child can easily follow and duplicate.
There are many purposes of the practical life area:
1. The coordination and consolidation of movement. The young child has an urge to move, and every practical life exercise satisfies this need. There is a connection between the mind, the will and action involved in each exercise.
2. Integration of the personality. The exercises create a unity between the mind, the will and the body. The mind receives the information, and understands what is required. The will then orders the part of the body involved to carry out the function.
3. The exercises provide an opportunity for repetition, leading to self perfection. Children love to repeat an activity, thus perfection is achieved while the tendency for repetition is being satisfied.
4. Functional independence. At the time of doing a work related exercise, the child does not realize that he is achieving or learning. The aim of his work is the work itself. When after several repetitions he brings the work to an end, from the child’s point of view the end is independent of external factors. However as he perfects himself through repetition, he is gaining independence, though he is not consciously aware of this fact.
5. Sociability is learned through the grace and courtesy exercises. The child is taught basic skills that will be needed to mix with others on a social level.
6. Adaptation. The child learns functions inherent to his culture, therefore learning to adapt to his environment. For example the spooning exercises teach a child in an American school how to use a spoon because the children use a spoon to eat. A Montessori school in China would have exercises that involve the use of chop sticks.
7. The exercises help the child with orientation and ordering. The sequences of each exercise help the child to recognize order. The more he creates this outward order, the more internally ordered his mind gets. The simple structured sequences of each exercise, create a straight line for action, and assist the child from wandering around. It helps to create order from chaos.
8. The various exercises of practical life satisfy the needs the child has to fit into his environment; this need is so powerful that it fully absorbs the child. This in turn develops concentration. An important function of the Montessori teacher is observation. This helps the teacher to see when the concentration is waning and channel the child to another activity.
There finally comes a time when the child is not satisfied to work at the practical exercises just as an end in itself. This is when the teacher presents motives for the activity, to do the work for the good of the group, cleaning up after lunch, serving lunch or putting items away to tidy up the room in the evening, thus helping the child to become a useful member of his little community. We must remember that in the practical life exercises the child is not play acting, not just imitating the teacher. The exercises are teaching the child to prepare for taking place in life activities, education that is a preparation for life.
The order, sequencing and concentration learned in these exercises will stay with the child forever, and can be transferred to other areas of learning like math, reading, art etc. Everything learned in all the four areas of practical life will help the child to take care of his person, be sociable, independent, fit in and concentrate on all further learning.
Posted by: Arborland staff
on Sep 24, 2011
Importance of the arts program in Montessori education.
While most public schools are cutting out the music and arts program why does Arborland Montessori Children’s Academy continue to place so much emphasis on the arts?
Cultural education has always been a very important part of Montessori education. Dr. Montessori believed that once the human beings basic needs of food, shelter and safety were met, they looked for other ways to enhance their lives. If education is viewed as a preparation for life, as Montessori education is described, then an education that neglects ways to nourish the spirit and show a child the joys of music, art, drama and culture, is an incomplete education. Regrettably the budget cuts have forced public schools to seriously cut back or even completely eliminate the arts programs. The development of a child has a serious negative impact without exposure to the arts.
Starting at the toddler level all the way to the upper elementary level our education exposes the child to music and all the arts. There is research that proves music improves developing intelligence. "Music is a magical gift we must nourish and cultivate in our children, especially now as scientific evidence proves that an education in the arts makes better math and science students, enhances spatial intelligence in newborns, and let's not forget that the arts are a compelling solution to teen violence, certainly not the cause of it!" Michael Greene, Recording Academy President and CEO at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, February 2000.
At Arborland, music, art lessons, drama, public speaking, and dance lessons are an integral part of the curriculum. Dance improves the coordination of a growing child, while providing an outlet for creative energies. There are also extra after school lessons offered at a nominal cost for parents who wish to avail of these for their children. We believe all these art forms are an extension of language, and offer means of expression for the child. Our children are also exposed to cultures of their own country and countries of the world. Understanding other cultures sows seeds of tolerance and understanding.
Posted by: Arborland staff
on Sep 10, 2011
Memories 9/11/2001 Ms. Foy
I reached to switch off the TV and froze, was that a plane that flew into that very tall building in New York? I stood rooted to the spot and a little while later another plane went into the other tower. Something horrible was happening in New York. I knew I had to leave or I’d be late for school. As I drove to school the news on the car radio made me realize our world had changed forever. As I entered the school I found a bunch of very frightened children. They had watched the news in their homes, and the TV in the child care room showed the horror live as it unfolded. When my 9, 10 and 11 year old children trooped into class, they were full of fear, full of questions. “Why are people blowing up our beautiful buildings, do they hate us, will they come after us next, who is going to keep us safe?” Some children were crying quietly. I wanted to switch the TV off but they begged me to keep it on. I was full of fear and shock myself, but I knew I had to do something constructive to calm the children and make them feel secure. We discussed how acts like these were fueled by hate and misunderstanding, and as long as our country stayed strong and united we would be safe. After a while I switched the TV off and encouraged conversations of patriotism, understanding and love. I encouraged the children to write, discuss, and draw what they were feeling. My main focus was not to feed their fear, but to encourage discussions of how hate and misunderstanding could be replaced by the power of love. As they wrote they began to calm down, it gave them a sense of control; they felt they were finding a solution to the problem. The children had seen the worst, but I wanted them not to lose hope. I started them off with a poem I had written after the Columbine tragedy in 1999
Fill Your Heart with Love
Fill your heart with love my friend, let there be no room for hate.
Fill your heart with love today, tomorrow may be too late.
Love is caring, love is sharing, love is beautiful and kind.
So fill your heart with love my friend, make hate so hard to find.
All the children wrote beautiful lines which we put together into a wonderful poem of love and hope.
The Power of Love
By the Upper Elementary class of 2001
Love is like a pretty flower,
Love is much better than hate.
Hate is like a fish stuck on fish bait.
Love is full of happiness and joy
Hate is like a broken toy.
A broken toy makes you sad
Hate makes you twisted and bad.
Love is wonderful
It helps in many ways
It throws out the bad, brings in the good,
And makes many happy days.
To love is to feel
To love is to care.
When a person stops loving
It is a horrible thing.
For no more good things,
Can this person bring.
So if everyone could help,
The world would be
Such a beautiful place.
And would welcome
Every human of every race.
Posted by: Arborland staff
on Jul 13, 2011
In a Montessori environment children are working in a specially prepared environment. They are surrounded with materials that are chosen to teach skills needed by a child to prepare for life in the community. The freedom of choice allowed encourages the child to make self- motivated choices. Lessons learned this way have a greater impact on the child, and the result is academic excellence. This is what we have noticed in our long history of working with children. If the child is allowed, and encouraged to learn, and is placed in an enriched environment, he will learn for the sake of learning, and experiences the joy and satisfaction as a result. He is not working on a reward and punishment schedule. He is working for his own personal satisfaction. The teacher works to inflame the child’s imagination, nurtures, and provides rich learning materials, that have no limits. There are no bars set for the child, for example if a fourth grade child is interested in what a fifth grade child is learning he is allowed to observe and choose to do so. The only requirement is the child’s interest and ability. A surprising discovery we have made is that that if a child is given a set amount of learning to complete in a set amount of time it actually lowers expectation! Once done there is no internal joy, because the child has worked to the teacher’s time table not his own, and will simply wait for further direction. This is really a tragic situation, because a child’s curiosity has no limits. In our elementary classes the teachers discourage “due dates”, as learning does not stop at a due date. Once a lesson is presented the child is encouraged to go further with the given concept and discover more than has been presented. Younger children are not forbidden to look at and attempt work that an older child is doing. A pleasant surprise of this type of learning is that our children think nothing of continuing to work long after the presented work is done. A happy by product is that Montessori children excel in every area of learning when they transition to the public school system. The primary focus in this type of education is not only on good test grades, but the good grades are achieved anyway! In our twenty years experience our children have no challenge doing the public school tests, and we do have these tests given to expose the children to what they will experience after they leave us.
We track our children after they transition to public school and the results are very gratifying. All our graduates have had an excellent track record and gone on to pursue further university education in various prestigious universities around the nation.
Posted by: Arborland staff
on Jun 20, 2011
Summer school (Ms. Foy)
The long summer vacation has begun! Great news for the children, not too much fun for parents who still have to go to work, and now have the added chore of finding ways to amuse the children. Wouldn’t it be great if parents could just take the whole summer off and stay home with the children? Alas, that is just wishful thinking! This is where Arborland comes to the rescue. We have a superb summer program that combines learning with enjoyable activities and field trips. Parents can safely leave the children with us, in the same safe environment they are accustomed to, and go to work knowing the children will not miss out on any of the summer fun. Learning activities are skillfully blended with the fun summer activities of swimming and field trips. The children are occupied in academic activities in the morning session, and this is not just busy work, there are special units of math and language arts tailored to each child’s age and need. The afternoons are devoted to different themes, the children get to learn in greater detail and expand on units for which there may not be sufficient time in the regular school year. Another great advantage of our summer program is that the teacher already knows the child very well and is able to give remedial help, in any area, if she feels that the child needs it. The group being much smaller, the child gets the benefit of very personalized attention. Those children who don’t need this type of attention are led to do more advanced work, again personalized for each child. The end result is that the children all return for the new school year more confident and happy. This is more desirable than children who have spent all summer in front of the television or playing computer games. Children are creatures of habit and they need the structure that summer school offers. We give them that structure, in a safe, loving and fun filled environment. Stop by and pick up a brochure outlining all the exciting themes offered.
Posted by: james
on Feb 18, 2011
Tagged in: Untagged
By Ms. Foy
Montessori philosophy maintains that testing children for lessons given is not an accurate way of knowing how much or how well the child has assimilated ideas. In Montessori schools we strive to instill a love of learning, and the ability to utilize lessons learned in one area to another area of learning. A child who has been educated to gain knowledge and use this knowledge in other areas of life, is a better educated child than another who only learns to get good grades for a test. This type of learning is very superficial and has no depth. Dr. Montessori believed that we should sow the seeds of knowledge, and not pull out the seeds sown to see how well it is doing! If this is our belief, why do we do the standardized test every year? The testing is not mandated for private schools, however we still do it, and I would like to offer an explanation, and some help for parents while the child is getting ready for the test.
The child in a Montessori school will eventually go to public school, and have to do these tests. To get the child ready for this reality we present the test in a relaxed way with no pressure. Studying to the test is not education, so we do not give too much time in the school year for this type of preparation. Montessori education has the same curriculum covered as public school though the presentation is different. The testing is a good way for the teacher to judge herself rather than the child. The result shows the teacher whether she has imparted the knowledge, and gives her an opportunity to make amendments if necessary. There is no pressure on the child to get good grades. Good grades happen spontaneously, as in our classrooms the child has the freedom to learn, not the pressure to learn! Is it not true, that when you enjoy what you do, you do a better job than if you do not enjoy what you do? This is what happens in a Montessori school, we instill a love of learning, and we do not limit the child’s knowledge by age. The result is a happy child who performs well spontaneously. I request parents to have the same approach to learning in the weeks leading up to the test. Please do not pressure the child. Let us treat the test as just one learning experience, among all the other learning experiences the child has during the school year. Let us not focus on the grades, let us focus on and enjoy the test period as one of the many learning tools the child is exposed to throughout the school year.