Learning Philosophy: Play-Based or Montessori

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When I was searching for schools for my children I learned about the different methods being taught in schools. I discovered a play-based and Montessori learning philosophy.

Parents are taking an active role in their children’s educations these days, and there are many differing ideas or philosophies on the best approach.

A quality child care provider, like Surry Hills (a progressive child care centre in Sydney), should be able to discuss these viewpoints among others to give your child a head start in their education.

Two very popular learning philosophies are play-based learning and the Montessori Method. They are by no means the only ones but can give you an insightful look at two ways of thinking about learning.

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Play Based Learning

This is a simple idea, that children do their best learning during play. By letting kids play with minimal interference, they acquire new skills and knowledge better than they do when presented with worksheets and lessons.

It may not look like it at first, but play sessions can teach a number of social skills, language and math concepts, basic understandings of physics and more.

The best way to use this approach is to allow a lot of unstructured play time but also offer specific fun activities to boost creativity and to introduce new ideas to your child’s environment. A good mix of sensory, dramatic, creative, group and outside play activities can easily fill up a full day of “learning” while the kids are having nothing but fun.

It can be difficult to really understand this idea, so some parents simply add in additional play time to their days to allow for play-based learning, rather than ditching other kinds of educational altogether. You don’t have to go with an all-or-nothing approach.

Montessori Method

The Montessori approach is all about taking an individualized look at the child and taking all the necessary steps to lead them to be their best. That usually means letting a child take the lead in what is to be explored, and following their personal interests rather than a strict pre-planned curriculum.

While play is almost always part of the Montessori method, it’s not the core of it like it is in play-based learning. Lessons are more structured, though still focusing on what interests the child. Groups and classes tend to include multiple ages to foster better communication and acceptance with other children who are not exactly the same. Teachers get involved and learn along with kids, rather than lead the class.

This particular philosophy is the core behind the Montessori schools that offer personalized education plans for children from before pre-school and onward. There are more than 4,000 Montessori schools in the USA but they are found across the world. Though this method is well-known as part of these schools, you can utilize their techniques at home too.

Both of these methods are very popular among homeschoolers and they are becoming more and more well-known in quality daycare centers and even schools. If you think your child could benefit form one of these approaches (or others), you shouldn’t hesitate to discuss it with their caregivers or teachers to see if some new direction can be added to their day.

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Benefits of Nursery Rhymes from Babies to Toddlers

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Almost every child has grown up singing and listening to nursery rhymes. No childhood is complete without it. From catchy rhythms to fun words, nursery rhymes can bring the brightest smiles and tons of giggles to a child’s face.

With the onset of digital technology nursery rhymes are no longer confined to books but are readily available on social media like YouTube. The Hey Kids channel has some of our favorites. Who can forget classics such as Rain Rain Go Away, Incy Wincy Spider (my personal favorite!), Old MacDonald Had a Farm and more?

Nursery rhymes aren’t only just for fun though. They have positive a impact on our little ones. From babies to toddlers let’s discover the benefits of nursery rhymes.

Development of language skills

As soon as babies are born they’re introduced to nursery rhymes. We usually use these rhymes to soothe and play with our kids but did you know that along the way you’re already helping your child develop his language skills? They’re introduced to new words and phrases through these rhymes. It also helps build comprehension as they try to understand the rhyme.

Repetition for memory

Rhymes usually repeat lines and the repetition in the rhymes help kids learn recall. Repeating the lines can help children master their own techniques to memorization as they form the rhymes in their head and sing them. A perfect example is Old MacDonald Had a Farm. With this rhyme children have to remember the sequence that they’ve sung the song.

Produces a love for reading

Some nursery rhymes are handed down through generations and some we get from children’s books. I had a few nursery rhyme books for the kids and we would sing and read to it. They learned to like books because they were fun. They engaged themselves in the stories wanting to learn what would happen.

From this children can have a love for reading which hopefully progresses to a lifelong love for it.

Comfort and soothe

I sang nursery rhymes to my kids in lulling tones and funny voices. Either way they were meant to comfort and soothe them. To assure them through my voice that I was there for them and that they were safe. I often a night sang these rhymes to put them to sleep. This is why when we hear these rhymes we can get nostalgic and warm.

The Incy Wincy Spider can be a lullaby as proven with my three kids. They would get excited upon hearing it and as I sang the song sometimes up to 10 times in a row they would be lulled and comforted.

What are some of the nursery rhymes you enjoyed as a child?

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Deception and Illusion at The Mind Museum Science Circus

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My family and I caught the latest traveling exhibit, The Mind Museum Science Circus. Only on a limited run, the exhibit showcases the amusing, the peculiar, and the extraordinary through three rings, Deception Perception, Pieces of Incredible Engineering, and Encounters with the Masters. The exhibit can be found right in front of the main entrance. You might be expecting a huge exhibit but don’t worry though it might be modest in size but the interactive displays are well worth the visit.

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The combination of science and the awe-inspiring demonstrations and death-defying stunts of a circus are the perfect way to engage interest in perception, engineering and illusion.

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Entrance to the Science Circus is every 90 minutes and you’re free to take your time to solve the puzzles and try the various illusions and trickery on display.

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Deception Perception

A menagerie of exhibits, it’s here where you will  question your senses and discover the “blindness” of your mind’s eye.

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Pieces of Incredible Engineering

The central area focuses on puzzles and simple machines. You can spend hours here trying to figure them out.

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Bastian and Kianna recently learned about Tangrams and they were excited to see the puzzles before them.

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Encounters with the Masters

Have you ever been in awe of illusions? Well, now you can learn the secrets of the Masters of Illusion. There are challenges posed by each Master where you can try your best to figure out how they do it.

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This special exhibit will be on a limited run until January 31, 2017. For fees and schedules jump to the bottom of this post.

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Of course a trip to The Mind Museum wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the main museum. Jael and I had been here previously but it was Bastian and Kianna’s first time. Kianna, Jael and I went off to discover more of the museum and Bastian and his girlfriend, Chelsea went off on their own.

I coulnd’t let a chance pass by to take a picture with this huge bar of chocolate so prominently displayed.

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The Mind Museum is truly a wonder for budding enthusiasts of anything science related. It was fun seeing Kianna’s reaction to the exhibits especially since she’s learning most of them.

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Even at my age there’s still a fascination and we stopped by each one to read up and either try or look closely at the exhibits.

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Since our last visit, a new section has been added which  concentrates on the development of teens, physically, emotionally and mentally. I took a particular interest in this exhibit having 2 teens myself.

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*The Mind Museum’s traveling exhibition Science Circus will be on display in the Museum for a limited run, until January 31, 2017 only. The exhibition aims to travel to cities and provinces around the country as part of The Mind Museum’s mission to bring science closer to the general public.

Entrance Fees:

Science Circus* only

P200/head – Adult or Child

The Mind Museum (3-hour tour) + Science Circus*

Adults- P750

Child/Student (up to college)- P650

Kids below two feet are Free.

*Enjoy Science Circus exhibition for 90 minutes choosing from these timeslots:

9am-1030am  |  1030am-12nn  |  12nn-130pm  |  130pm-3pm  |  3pm-430pm  |  430pm-6pm

Limited capacity. Guests are welcomed on a first come, first served basis.

The Mind Museum Operating Hours:

9:00am – 6:00pm, Tuesdays to Sundays.

CLOSED on Mondays.

For more information or for interested parties who would want to host this exhibition, please contact:

Email:  inquiry@themindmuseum.org
Website: www.themindmuseum.org
Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram: themindmuseum

#EnterTheScienceCircus #TheMindMuseum

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