Montessori During Quarantine: Everyday Life Lessons

There’s a reason Maria Montessori called the first school, Casa dei Bambini. It means “Children’s House,” because a Montessori classroom is meant to replicate a child’s home. The classroom is set up to allow children to experience and practice common life skills — the area of the classroom called “practical life” is, in fact, dedicated to it. The children practice pouring without spilling and transferring small items with spoons and tweezers. They scrub chairs and tables and they water plants and feed classroom pets.

In these COVID-19 pandemic times, many families are coming to realize that Maria Montessori was onto something! From sweeping the floor, to setting the table, and preparing food, it turns out that the family home is the ultimate classroom. So let’s take a look at some ways that you can tap into that Montessori philosophy, while staying safe at home.

Everyday Activities Count as Learning

Laundry: Still doing laundry? Of course you are! Your child can help match socks, count socks, organize socks, and fold socks. They can put away their clothes, they can load a washing machine, and they can empty a dryer. Let them. And if they don’t want to? It’s okay to insist that everyone participates to some degree. You’re not the maid and your sanity matters. This is an all-hands-on-deck kind of situation!

Dishes: Need to empty the dishwasher (again!)? Call in a helper. Depending on their age, most kids can manage what ends up in the average family’s dishwasher. Knives and glassware are at your discretion, but a step stool in the kitchen is the great equalizer, so walk your child through the process and show them where everything goes.

Meals and Groceries: Making your grocery list or setting up an online order? Older children can help plan meals, create a food inventory, or organize the snack cabinet. Any child can help prepare meals and most kids are quite capable of fixing their own bowl of cereal, so give them a chance to be a little more independent in the kitchen. And the messes? They get to clean those up as well. The goal is not perfection, it’s participation.

Cleaning: Ready to do ALL the organizing and cleaning? Kids love to dust and a six year-old with a vacuum is a whole new level of parenting unlocked. You’re all living in the house and making messes! Everyone gets to help clean up!

A Friendly Reminder: Consistency Still Matters

Children thrive on structure and consistency. It’s how they organize their day and develop a sense of time. Maintaining some degree of structure to your daily life will help everyone know what to expect and what is expected of them.

Get your child up at the same time each day and maintain regular meal times. Get dressed (at least most days) and get outside, when you can. Make outdoor time and movement a priority — except for Fridays and rainy days. Those are for pajamas!

If you haven’t already established a few weekly “traditions,” it’s not too late to start. Maybe Sundays are “breakfast for dinner” days and Wednesdays are “living room picnic” days. Spontaneity can be fun, but so can routine. And it helps pass the time, for sure!

Follow the Child

Your child will show you how best they learn and where their interests lie. “Follow the child” means listen to them, pay attention to what they say, how they play, and the questions they ask. It doesn’t mean “let them do whatever they want,” but in the Age of Pandemic, it does mean that it’s okay to NOT follow a rigid homeschool schedule.

Playtime is learning time and there are lots of ways to incorporate learning into everyday life and activities. Or not. We hereby give you permission to “follow the parent” and cut yourself some slack. Some days are hard and other days are harder.

So, don’t fret over “homeschool” and workbooks and online learning. In the Montessori world, home is school. So, just live the pandemic life — keep everyone safe and sane — and find ways to include your child in the home/life process in a way that works for you.

Additional Resources: (From the American Montessori Society)

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We are currently closed, but are available to conduct VIRTUAL TOURS Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm. Virtual tours are by appointment only. Please call 703-481-6678 and leave a message or contact Cinthia and Keturah via the email form below to schedule your virtual tour.

FAQs Answered: Closures, Tours, and the Upcoming School Year

Spring has sprung, and although Children’s House is currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak and Virginia statewide shutdown, we are optimistically looking toward the future and anxious to get back to school! 

We hope you are all safe at home, keeping your distance, and washing your hands! If you are a first responder or healthcare professional, we thank you for your service and appreciate all you are doing to keep our community safe!

As we look to the future, we’d like to address some questions we have recently received. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out (from 6’ back, of course!) and ask!

Are you closed?

Our building is closed, but our key staff are working remotely from home. We are able to access email, voicemail, and Facebook Messenger, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns, or just to say “hi!” 

We make twice-weekly trips to school to collect the mail and check on the fish in our fish tank, but are careful to maintain strict social distancing guidelines. Don’t worry — the fish are fine!

How are you currently serving your families?

At CHMS, we have been able to take advantage of the many resources online and create our own schedule to connect with our students and their families. We provide services in the form of online learning platforms such as Zoom and Seesaw.

Seesaw allows us to post activities, record stories and lessons, share general resources and provide support to parents and students. Students are able to post their responses to activities and teachers can comment on those as well.

Additionally, we have students connect through daily Zoom meetings for a variety of activities, such as story time, sharing and lessons together. We are also using Readworks with our Kindergarten students to provide more in depth reading and comprehension work. 

While we never imagined a situation like this we are truly lucky to be living in the time of technology so that we may connect, in a small way, with our school community during this difficult time.  

When do you plan to reopen?

It is our intention to reopen once the restrictions are lifted and we are able to safely return to work and school. Although we can not predict when that will be or what that will look like, we are continuing to enroll for the upcoming school year. 

As a small business, we find ourselves in the same financially challenging situation as many. We are grateful to our current families who continue to support us through this trying period.

Can I schedule a tour?

We are not conducting in-person tours at this time, but are happy to talk with you over the phone and answer whatever questions you may have. We can also do virtual tours via FaceTime! We also encourage you to check out past videos on our Facebook page to get a glimpse into life at Children’s House before the shutdown.  Ms. Cinthia did a number of Facebook live videos this past year, sharing Specials, circle time, special events, and playground time. Be sure to check them out!

What’s the best way to contact you?

You can send an email through the form below, call us at 703-481-6678 and leave a message, or send us a message through our Facebook page. We will make every effort to get back to you by the end of the next business day.

Are you accepting applications?

Yes! Although it may feel like time has stood still, it will be August before you know it! We are currently accepting applications for the 2020 – 2021 school year and are excited to welcome new families to Children’s House!

You can fill out the application online but please touch base with Cinthia so she knows to look for your application. 

We’ll get through this!

We are a small school community and we are missing our families, greatly! We can not wait to get back to normal and move forward, together. If there is anything we can do to help please reach out and let us know. We are here for you and looking forward to the day that we can welcome you back to Children’s House!

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Kids and Quarantine: A Few Thoughts for Parents

We are at the beginning of what could be a very long period of one of the strangest times in our shared history. We are fighting an invisible enemy with no end in sight, and dealing with uncertainty, confusion, and an overwhelming amount of information. So many families are home now with young children, trying to balance school closures, cancelations, work obligations, and a million stressors in between. For what it’s worth, and at the risk of getting lost in the shuffle, here’s our two cents about parenting during a Covid-19 quarantine.

Routines and Schedules are Still Important

Kids need order amid chaos. They need structure, routine, and schedules, but that doesn’t mean that every minute of your day needs to be allocated to some enrichment activity or another. We have a long haul ahead of us. It’s unrealistic to expect to maintain a colorful “schedule of the day” that you found on Pinterest – especially for weeks at a time. There’s a lot of talk on social media right now about homeschooling; don’t feel like you’re under some parental obligation to duplicate your child’s school experience at home. You can’t and no one is expecting you to.

Young children get through the day in blocks of time: morning, lunch, nap, afternoon, dinner, bed. Keep those times consistent and reliable. This is not a vacation or an extra long weekend; it’s a new normal with an unknown end date.  You get to decide what that new normal schedule looks like.

Our advice? Keep the basics consistent: wake-up time, meals, nap / quiet time, and bedtime. The details are flexible, but the structure stays the same. Take it day by day, chunk by chunk. This, too, shall pass.

Be Mindful of Your Words 

Your children are listening to everything. Every news briefing that plays in the background, every Facebook post you read out loud to your spouse, and every phone call, FaceTime chat, and conversation with the neighbors. Your kids are trying to figure out what is going on, so keep your explanations simple and age-appropriate. 

  • Focus on language that expresses concern for others, personal responsibility to the greater community, and service. 
  • Turn off the news around children and keep adult conversations private.  
  • This is no one’s fault. Avoid words like “we’re not allowed to” or “we can’t.” Instead, focus on how your actions, as a family, are helping keep others safe. Be the helper, not the victim.
  • Answer the question you’re asked. There’s no need for longer explanations when kids are little. They don’t need all the details. Use small explanations, in small amounts.

“Why is school closed?” Because everyone is being asked to stay home for a while. 

“But, why?” You know how germs make people sick? Well, there are germs right now that are making some people sick and, if we stay home, it makes it hard for the germs to spread around. 

“But why do we have to stay home?” Because we don’t want to accidentally get someone else sick. We’re healthy and can help others stay healthy by doing our part and staying home.

“But I want to go to school.” I know you do. And you will, I just don’t know when. We’ll go back as soon as it’s okay for everyone to do that.

Keep it Simple

You don’t have to “homeschool” your three-year old. Your four-year old will be fine. Your kindergartener will, too. In the grand scheme of things, these next few weeks (months?) are a blip in their lives. Focus on what’s important: their sense of safety and security, and your sanity. Keep it simple, let them have fun, and don’t strive for perfection.

Read together as a family, build a pillow fort, bake cookies, take art supplies outside, and go for a walk. Just don’t do it all on the same day! Pace yourself. There are a million resources out there for online activities. Bookmark the ones that sound interesting and get back to them later. You have time. Plenty of time.

You also have our permission to plop your kids in front of the TV so you can get some work done. They’ll survive. Kids are resilient (and, psst! so are you.) You’ve got this!

Additional Resources:

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How to Find a Good Preschool: Questions, Observations, and Red Flags

It’s almost springtime here in Northern Virginia, and many folks are looking ahead to summer and then to the upcoming school year. If you have a two-and-a-half to three-year old you might have already started mulling over the big P-question. No, not the “pee” question — we’re not talking Potty Training —  the Preschool Dilemma. When to start? What kind of program? Can we afford it? The questions have begun! With so many options, it can feel overwhelming, so we’re giving you our recommendations on how to find a good preschool for your little one.

Before You Start: Research

Let’s start with the elephant in the room — to Montessori or not-to-Montessori, that is the question. Obviously, here at Children’s House MONTESSORI school, we are a little biased.  We believe that the Montessori educational philosophy is pretty darn great, but you should do your research and see if Montessori is a good fit for you and your family. There are tons of options out there and many different approaches to early childhood education. Do your research and see what’s available in your area. 

Step 1: Make a List — Location, location, location!

Sounds pretty obvious, but that’s probably just because it’s the obvious first step. Make a list. A quick Google search will tell you which schools are in your area or closest to the area you want to be in. Maybe you’re looking for a location close to work or somewhere midway between work and home. Map out your options and make a list of the schools that fit your location criteria.

You don’t want to get your heart set on a school only to realize later on that it’s 20 minutes out of your way or would put you (and your younger children, if you have them) in the car for an hour or more each day. Google Maps is your friend!

Questions / Observations / Red Flags

  1. Is it close to home or work? 
  2. How much time will it add to your commute?
  3. Is the location within a reasonable driving distance for other care-givers who might pick up on a regular basis (like a nanny, babysitter, or grandparent)?
  4. Drive by a few of your top choices on your way to work and see what it’s like to add that stop to your morning or evening commute.
  5. If your child will be attending a mornings-only program, how much time will you realistically be left with after drop-off and before pick-up? Are there shops and amenities nearby to make it easier to run errands or take younger siblings to classes or playgroups?
  6. How do you feel about the location? Is the area busy? Does it feel safe? 

Step 2: Read Reviews

You wouldn’t buy a pressure cooker without reading a bunch of reviews first, right? Do the same for your child’s school. Check out the schools’ Google listing, find them on Yelp.com, or check GreatSchools.org. Follow their Facebook page and read up on what people are saying about your child’s potential school. Ask for recommendations from friends and co-workers. Where do your neighbors take their kids? 

Keep in mind that reviews come from a place of emotion — good or bad — and remember that children and families can have vastly different experiences at the same school. Weigh the positives and negatives and keep an open mind.

Questions / Observations / Red Flags

  1. Gut check: what stands out when you read them? Is this a place you want your child to be?
  2. For negative reviews, how old are they? Do they seem very specific to one family or was there a larger issue that the school could have addressed by now?
  3. Look for recent reviews, as those reflect the current atmosphere, staffing, and curriculum of the school. 
  4. In general, are the reviews positive or negative?
  5. Check several websites and compare reviews, you’ll notice a theme or trend — time for another gut check.

Step 3: Call and Ask Questions

We spend SO MUCH TIME on our phones these days, and yet somehow we forget what they’re actually for: making phone calls! Pick up the phone and call your top three choices! Talk to a person! First impressions matter and your first impression should come from one of the people you’re likely to interact with on a daily basis, once your child is enrolled in a program: the office manager, school director, or other administrative personnel. 

Questions / Observations / Red Flags

  1. Are they friendly, professional, and courteous?
  2. Do they take the time to speak with you about your questions and concerns?
  3. Do they ask you questions about your child and seem interested in learning more about your family and your needs?
  4. Did they answer the phone or return calls promptly?
  5. Gut check: how do you feel after you hang up the phone? 

Step 4: Tour and Observe

It’s all well and good, if your number one top pick is in the perfect location, has great reviews, and a friendly phone manner, but nothing beats an on-site tour! This is your chance to see for yourself what makes this school a great fit or a “nope, next!”  Bring a list of questions and get them answered. 

Questions / Observations / Red Flags

  1. Gut check: How do you feel walking through the space?
  2. How would you describe it to a friend? 
  3. What are the three to five adjectives that come to mind?
  4. Is the staff friendly? Do you feel welcome?
  5. Are the children actively engaged in their activities?
  6. Are you touring and observing a typical school day?

Step 5: Visit with Your Child

Once you’ve done your research, narrowed the field, and picked your favorite, it’s time to take your child for a visit. This is such an important step and shouldn’t be dismissed. While you, as the parent, are going to make the final decision about where your child goes to school, your child’s opinion (and reaction) matters. If you’re looking to enroll and start in a short timeframe, it’s especially important that your child have a chance to visit, meet their teacher, and spend time in the classroom. If their start date is further out, this is just a chance to interact with the teachers and get a feel for how your child will adjust. 

Questions / Observations / Red Flags

  1. Do you feel good about how the teachers and staff interacted with your child? Were they respectful and compassionate?
  2. If relevant, how did the staff handle your child’s hesitation, confusion, or anxiety?
  3. Is your child happy at the end of the visit? 
  4. Will the school accommodate additional visits closer to the start date? This is especially important for children who struggle with transitions.
  5. Gut check: is this THE place? By now, you’ll know.

Your child’s preschool experience matters! Do some research, ask around, call, and visit! Depending on where you live, you might feel like you have a million options or none. There’s a great school out there, we promise — keep an open mind and do your homework.

Additional Resources:

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Interested in visiting CHMS? What to Expect During Your Tour

4 Important Lessons Kids Learn in Montessori

Children are learning every day. They learn by experience, by example, by formal instruction, and a million ways in between. They watch, listen, experiment, and repeat. If they’re lucky, they’ll even be allowed to fail, to mess up, make mistakes, and figure out solutions. Learning is an ongoing process and it’s not always black and white and quantifiable. Here is our list of 4 important lessons kids learn in Montessori. (Spoiler alert: Reading, writing, and math didn’t make the cut!)

Lesson #1: I am capable

Montessori kids learn from the very beginning that they are capable of more than they think. The words “I can’t do it” are countered with “show me what you mean” and they are challenged to take a second try, ask for help, or figure out an alternative. Montessori kids learn that teachers are there for guidance and support, but that they, themselves, are the ones who will ultimately do the work. A child who steps aside while a well-meaning adult intervenes, does not learn the same lesson.

Lesson #2: I am trustworthy

Glass pitchers, porcelain dishes, sewing needles, and a teeny, tiny pink cube are just some of the items in a Montessori classroom that can get broken or lost on a daily basis. Yet they rarely do. A funny thing happens when you draw a child’s attention to the delicate nature of the glass they are holding or the diminutive size of the object in their hand; they straighten up and pay attention. When we let them use breakable materials, we show our children that we trust them to use gentle hands and mindful movements. Accidents happen and things do break, but more often than not, they don’t.

Lesson #3: I am a valued member of the community

The mixed-age aspect of the Montessori classroom is, truly, a thing of beauty. Younger and older children interact as they would with their siblings, looking up to each other or looking out for one another. When it’s time to clean up and get ready for circle time, there’ll always be at least one kindergartener stepping in to help a younger friend put away their work.

And if a three year-old needs help tying their shoe or zipping their coat, they know they can ask an older friend for a hand. Montessori kids learn that friends who work together, go further — together! On a larger scale, this translates to a global community, as the Montessori cultural curriculum emphasizes respect for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an ongoing quest for understanding.

benefits of a mixed age classroom: a child helps another tie her shoes

Lesson #4: I am respected

The Montessori philosophy encourages parents and teachers to see their children as human beings, worthy of respect. Montessori kids learn that their voices matter, that their opinions matter, and are encouraged to participate in classroom life as a valued member of the community. Take a peek into Montessori classroom and watch the teachers speak with the children down at their level. Watch them listen to the children and engage with them in a way that is respectful and genuine. Children are listening and learning all the time; respectful language matters.

Child working on opening and closing work

Four simple, but oh-so-important lessons to be learned! Every day offers opportunities to teach our children that they are capable, trusted, valued and respected. Be mindful of your language, look for teachable moments, and watch your child blossom!

Additional Resources:

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Teaching Character Development in Early Childhood: Part 4 (Cooperation and Respect)

This is the fourth post in a monthly series that will be devoted to practical tips for using the Virtues language when teaching character development in early childhood. We’ll explain how we use this program in our classrooms, what it sounds like in conversation, and how you can use it at home in a variety of examples. We’ll be highlighting two Virtues each month, so be sure to subscribe to our blog for monthly Virtues tips that you can use at home!

If you missed the first posts in the series, you can catch up here:

And, if you haven’t already downloaded our mini guide — Virtues 101: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the Virtues at CHMS, you’re going to want to do that now.

The Virtues Project™: Cooperation

Cooperation is working together and sharing the load. When we cooperate, we join with others to do things that cannot be done alone. We are willing to follow the rules which keep everyone safe and happy. Together we can accomplish great things.

– THE VIRTUES PROJECT™
Two children work together. Teaching Character Development in Early Childhood
Two friends working together and using cooperation to complete a Bank Game operation.

Cooperation is a big one. It encompasses everything needed to maintain a safe, happy learning environment at school and it is something that we talk about often.

As with all of the Virtues, cooperation is a tool we use, it is not something we are. A child is not cooperative or uncooperative, they are simply a child learning to respond to different situations. By teaching them to use cooperation in specific circumstances, we teach them that they are in control of their actions and this allows them to see that their choices affect others, for better or worse.

Here’s what it sounds like when we talk about Cooperation at school:

Acknowledgement: “I saw you using cooperation when I rang the playground bell! It makes it so much easier for us to all get inside for lunch quickly when we cooperate and line up as soon as we hear the bell!”

Guidance: “You boys have chosen to do this work together. Please remember to use cooperation and work together from beginning to end to make sure the work gets put away properly when you’re finished.”

Correction: “Please use cooperation and remember to walk inside the classroom. Using cooperation and following our classroom rules, like using walking feet when we’re inside, helps keep everyone safe.”

The Virtues Project™: Respect

We show respect by speaking and acting with courtesy. We treat others with dignity and honor the rules of our family, school, and nation. Respect yourself and others will respect you.

– THE VIRTUES PROJECT™
A child rolls a work rug. Teaching character development in early childhood.
We show respect for our classroom environment by rolling up our work rugs and keeping our classroom neat and clean!

Respect and Cooperation go hand in hand. When we cooperate by working together and following the rules, we demonstrate respect for ourselves, our peers, our teachers, and our school. BUT — here’s the part that most adults forget: Respect is a two-way street.

In order to gain a child’s respect, we have to first show respect for the child. The success of the Montessori method of teaching is due, in large part, to the respect that Montessori teachers have for the children in their care. We don’t just teach and expect cooperation and respect, we respect our students as people first and earn their respect and cooperation by leading by example.

Here’s what it sounds like when we talk about Respect at school:

Acknowledgement: “Thank you for being so careful with this new work; it shows me that you respect our classroom and the materials we share.”

Guidance: “Please remember to raise your hand during circle time and wait to speak until the other person is finished talking. It is respectful to wait your turn.”

Correction: “The next time you get upset, please remember that use respectful language at our school. That means we use polite words with our friends and teachers and we don’t use words that will hurt someone else’s feelings.”

Using Cooperation and Respect at Home

What goes around, comes around! If you make a conscious choice to respect your child’s thoughts, needs, and feelings, he or she will feel valued and seen and will, in return, be much more likely to cooperate! Is it a magical formula? Of course not, but it’s a pretty good start.

We all want to feel validated, seen, and appreciated and that goes for kids as well! Respect them, and they will respect you. Cooperate with the rules you’ve set for your household and they will learn that we all follow the rules!

Some things to consider:

  • Do you follow your own rules at home? Do you do what you’re asking your children to do? They’re going to follow your lead, so make sure you’re leading them in the right direction. Take off your shoes, make your bed, and eat your veggies! Put down your phone, make eye contact, and engage in polite conversation around the dinner table. Be the example you wish to see reflected.
  • How respectful is your language? Modeling good manners is important, if you want your child to pick up on good habits and practices. This includes while driving, so watch yourself! Say “please” and “thank you” to your children, your spouse, the grocery store clerk, and anyone else you encounter. Monkey-see, monkey-do.
  • Remember that in this day and age, social media- and the anonymity it often allows – has changed how we interact online; don’t let it change how you interact in life! Be polite, show respect, model courtesy, and cooperate, if you want your child to do the same!

For more information on the Virtues and for lots of examples you can use at home: Virtues 101: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the Virtues at CHMS. Next month we’ll talk about Excellence and Creativity, so be sure to subscribe to our blog  to stay in the loop!

Additional Resources:

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Potty Training Facts to Put Your Mind at Ease

Going to the bathroom part of life, but learning how to do it doesn’t have to be stressful, drawn out, or complicated. Sometimes, just knowing a few potty training facts can put parents’ minds at ease when it comes time to toilet train. So, before you stress out and start to question whether your child will ever ditch the diapers, take some advice from us and expert and author, Elizabeth Pantley, on this topic.

In our experience, many parents sign the enrollment papers for their child’s first preschool experience several months in advance. At the time the decision is made, the first day of school may seem far off in the future.

“We haven’t started potty training yet, but we still have plenty of time.”

Sound familiar?

Well, the day is looming and, most preschools, including Children’s House, have expectations for a certain level of independence in the bathroom. Our formal policy is that children be toilet-trained before they start school, but the reality is unique for each family.

Different Needs

Some children are almost independent in the bathroom, they just need to be reminded and taken to the bathroom at regular intervals to ensure success in the first few weeks. They are learning a new routine and there’s so many fun things to do in the classroom that they are distracted and not aware of their body’s needs.

Other children are overwhelmed by their new schedule, new classmates, new teachers, and school and might regress in their behaviors. Accidents are common in the first few days of school as we adjust. Our teachers handle bathroom accidents calmly. There is no shame in accidents. We help the child change into clean clothes, wash their hands, and return to the classroom as quickly as possible.

There are also children who are still in the transition phase from diapers to underwear. Perhaps they had a busy summer with travel and lots of excitement. It was easier for their parents to rely on diapers rather than create a whole new routine around multiple trips to the bathroom. The first day of school is around the corner and suddenly, the pressure to complete the process is upon them.

Whatever the reason, these quick facts about potty training will help you put this process into perspective.

potty training facts
Sometimes making new friends is more fun than going to the bathroom!

Quick Facts About Potty Training

by Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Potty Training Solution

Potty training can be natural, easy, and peaceful. The first step is to know the facts.

  • The perfect age to begin potty training is different for every child. Your child’s best starting age could be anywhere from eighteen to thirty-two months. Pre-potty training preparation can begin when a child is as young as ten months.
  • You can begin training at any age, but your child’s biology, skills, and readiness will determine when he can take over his own toileting.
  • Teaching your child how to use the toilet can, and should, be as natural as teaching him to build a block tower or use a spoon.
  • No matter the age that toilet training begins, most children become physically capable of independent toileting between ages two and a half and four.
  • It takes three to twelve months from the start of training to daytime toilet independence. The more readiness skills that a child possesses, the quicker the process will be.
  • The age that a child masters toileting has absolutely no correlation to future abilities or intelligence.
  • There isn’t only one right way to potty train – any approach you use can work – if you are pleasant, positive and patient. 
  • Nighttime dryness is achieved only when a child’s physiology supports this–you can’t rush it.
  • A parent’s readiness to train is just as important as a child’s readiness to learn.
  • Potty training need not be expensive. A potty chair, a dozen pairs of training pants and a relaxed and pleasant attitude are all that you really need. Anything else is truly optional. 
  • Most toddlers urinate four to eight times each day, usually about every two hours or so.
  • Most toddlers have one or two bowel movements each day, some have three, and others skip a day or two in between movements. In general, each child has a regular pattern.
  • More than 80 percent of children experience setbacks in toilet training. This means that what we call “setbacks” are really just the usual path to mastery of toileting.
  • Ninety-eight percent of children are completely daytime independent by age four.

This article is an excerpt from The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2006)  

Open Communication

Wherever you are in the potty training process, communication with your child’s teachers is of utmost importance. We are a team, working together to create a positive school experience for your child and your family. Open communication about your child’s bathroom needs is a big part of that.

So let us know what to expect and how we can help. We’ll get through this process — together!

potty training facts
A quick potty break means we can get back to enjoying our favorite activities!

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An Authentic Montessori School in the Heart of Reston

There are so many choices available to parents of young children today! A seemingly endless list of daycares, preschools, Montessori schools, and private kindergarten programs are available in the Reston-Herndon area and it can be overwhelming! Families like yours are looking for any number of things: location, class size, a program that fits your needs, but you also want a school that feels right as well! Children’s House Montessori School of Reston checks all the boxes!

Working on the pink tower at Children's House Montessori School of Reston

Children’s House opened its doors to a class of just 10 students in the fall of 2003. Since then, we have served hundreds of families and it is hard to believe, but those little children who joined our school community back then are now students in college!

We have two classes for children ages three to six and each class has approximately twenty students with two or three teachers per class. We follow the Montessori Philosophy, meaning that we adhere to the belief that children learn from their peers and do best in a mixed-age peer grouping. We also believe that the classroom environment should be a dynamic space, filled with movement and stillness, conversation and concentration.

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Circle time at Children's House Montessori School of Reston.

Children begin at the age of three and remain in the same class, with the same peers and teachers, for three years. A sense of “family” is quickly formed in this safe and nurturing environment.

As children progress through the three-year cycle, younger children aspire to imitate the older ones in their work and play, while older children have the opportunity to teach their well-learned skills to the younger ones. The third year, the kindergarten year, brings together all that the children have learned in this unique cycle of learning. Click here to learn more about our kindergarten program.

Language work at Children's House Montessori School of Reston.

Our dynamic learning environment addresses all your child’s developmental needs: social, emotional, cognitive, and physical. Children participate in “group time” activities each day, which foster a feeling of community and encourage cooperation. They receive individual instruction on the materials in the classroom throughout the extended work period.

They spend time outside each day, and younger children spend part of their afternoon in peaceful rest. We create a non-competitive environment where children are always encouraged to do their best. Each child is measured only against his own progress. We encourage children to complete their activities rather than compete with others.

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Sorting and classifying at Children's House Montessori School of Reston.

Children’s House Montessori School of Reston is conveniently located just minutes from Reston Town Center and the Reston-Wiehle Metro station. Schedule a tour with us and see what sets us apart!

Where the Love of Nature meets the Love of Learning

We love the outdoors and teaching the children all about nature throughout our curriculum and our environment. Our efforts to help children learn to love nature began with our gardening, hiking, and certified Schoolyard Habitat.  Over the past few years, we’ve thoughtfully created an outdoor environment where children can discover, relax, and learn through their interactions with the natural playscape features on our playground.

We have created spaces for the children to explore, dig, build, climb, be quiet and peaceful, and also care for the area where they play. The children love our playground. The benefits of natural spaces for play are numerous, including:

  • Children use their imagination more during play.
  • Children are more active during play when there are natural spaces to explore.
  • Because of the activities they choose to engage in, they tend to work on their fine motor skills during play in addition to the gross motor skills used on play equipment.

Weather-permitting, the children spend lots of time outdoors every day! We go outside before and after lunch and again in the later afternoon for the children who stay for our full-day program. When it snows, we put on snow gear and head outside, and when it’s raining, we’ve been known to get outdoors for a quick run through the drizzle to burn off some energy and get some fresh air!

We understand the importance of time outside, engaging with nature — it is something that we take seriously and have a lot of fun with!

The Hidden Gem of Reston

Northern Virginia – and especially Reston – has grown so rapidly over recent years! It can be hard to feel connected when we all live such busy lives. Having a small school community can be the bridge for many families who are looking to build relationships and establish connections with others in a similar stage of life.

Children’s House Montessori School of Reston was founded in 2003 by Keturah Collins. We are about to start our 17th year serving the Reston community and its families and are looking forward to another wonderful year together! As a Children’s House family you, too, can experience the sense of connection that comes from being part of a small community of like-minded individuals:

  • We are teachers and parents who believe that childhood is a precious time of curiosity and growth.
  • We respect nature and understand the value of spending time outside exploring our natural surroundings.
  • We understand that digital media can not replace hands-on learning in the early childhood classroom.
  • We value smaller class sizes, low student to teacher ratios, and the cozy atmosphere of a small school.
  • We adhere to the Montessori philosophy by respecting the individuality of our students, encouraging independence, and providing a classroom environment that is focused on personalized growth.
Child using a magnifying glass Montessori school reston
Hands on experience with real objects is a key component of the Montessori classroom.

We offer a fall and spring gardening program, weekly Spanish classes, and — new this year — Musical Yoga! We can’t wait to see how much the children love this new addition to our curriculum! We are especially proud of our implementation of The Virtues Project™ and invite you to read more about this character development program and download your free copy of our parenting resource: The Virtues 101

Our authentic Montessori program runs Monday through Friday, with three program times and spaces available for preschool, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten-aged children. Our two classrooms are both mixed-aged, meaning that three, four, and five year olds work together, learn together, and play together! In the afternoon, children are grouped by age for various activities: nap, rest / work time, and kindergarten lessons. You can read more about a typical day at Children’s House here.

Our families enjoy being involved in the school and it is not uncommon for parents to form lifelong friendships during the time that their children are in our care. Returning year after year, child after child – many parents have trusted us with 3 or more children and have been with us for 5-8 years or more. Our teachers are dedicated, educated, experienced with children, and our lead teachers are Montessori trained.

Children wearing Mongolian attire Montessori school reston
We love it when families share their cultural heritage with us!

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, Parent Coffee, and family picnic at the beginning of each year, our fall and spring festivals, the eagerly awaited Parent Day, and an end-of-year picnic.

New this year, we are offering a monthly Playground Open House! Join us on the first Friday of each month to play on our amazing natural playground! We have a beautiful natural play space and want to share it with the community. Everyone is welcome.

Families gather for Thanksgiving lunch Montessori school reston
Enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal together at our annual Thanksgiving Pot-Luck.

If you are looking for a small community of young families, you’ve found us! But you need to act quickly! The 2019-2020 school year is starting and spaces are filling up! Send us a brief message and tell us a little about your family and then join us for a personalized tour to see what sets Children’s House apart from the other schools in the area. Meet with us and you’ll see that we truly are the hidden gem of Reston!

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