Breathing techniques work well for children and adults as well and have the power to reduce the effects of stressful situations. At the Montessori School of Pleasanton, we incorporate breathing techniques as a way of helping our elementary students get control of their emotions and deal with anxiety and unpleasant situations.
Pretend that you are holding a handful of fresh flowers in your hand. Inhale deeply and imagine the scent. Exhale slowly, and think about the smell of the flowers. Repeat this process a few times. This method is great for elementary children because it gives them something to focus on while using controlled breathing, which takes their mind off the causes of stress or anxiety.
Feathers and Ribbons
Choose a feather or short piece of ribbon and hold it in front of your face. Breathe in deeply and then exhale slowly, watching the way your breath moves the surface of the item you are holding. Make a game of this technique, where the goal is to breathe on the item with only slight movements of the item you are holding. This exercise works well and helps children see the results of controlled breathing as it affects the surface of an object.
Take a deep breath and hold it for a count of five. Exhale slowly, making a quiet humming or buzzing sound as you do so. Repeat as necessary to calm down. It may help to close your eyes and pretend that you are alone in a field of flowers. This breathing exercise works well for elementary children because it incorporates a type of play into the process and gives them an activity to go along with the breathing technique.
Lie down and breathe deeply and slowly. Feel the air filling your lungs and expanding your chest. Hold each breathe for a few seconds before exhaling, and exhale as much as possible before taking the next deep breath. Research has shown that this is an excellent way to offset the “fight or flight” syndrome related to high anxiety.
Breathing techniques play a central role in yoga and other self-control routines as well as a way to regain a normal rhythm after heavy exercise. If you would like more information about ways to help your children remain in control of their emotions, talk with one of the student guides at the Montessori School of Pleasanton.
Cultural diversity is fundamental to life in the United States, and the African American contribution to history is extensive and impressive. We encourage you to help your preschooler learn about it at home during Black History Month as well.
Prominent Black Americans
From Harriet Tubman to Barrack Obama, the history of our nation is laced with African Americans who have risen above challenges of their times to achieve great things. Create storybooks with your children that tell the stories of some of these famous people, and explain to them how those people had to face many obstacles in order to do the things they did.
It is important for children to understand the difficulties black Americans have had, and how those problems have changed our society. Teach your children how accepting the differences of others is vital to living in a free and prosperous country. The great achievements of black Americans are even more important because of what they had to endure to in order to accomplish their amazing feats.
Black Culture Activities
From soul food to making African replicas, there are many activities to illustrate the cultural uniqueness of African Americans. Your children will enjoy doing cultural crafts, and they are certain to discover new taste sensations when they cook the foods of African cultures. Even music such as jazz, the blues, and hip-hop have roots in African American culture.
African American Contributions
From the corn planter to the piano, African Americans have been making life better for everyone for hundreds of years. Spend a day learning about the inventions of these people and how they have changed everything about the world we live. For a real-world example, consider the bicycle frame, an African American invention that every kid loves to use.
Black history month is an excellent opportunity to teach children about the roots of cultural diversity in America. There is a lot more to discover than can be covered in the classroom at our campus, but we would be happy to offer you suggestions on how to add to the ground we are able to cover. For more information on using hands-on activities to teach your children about Black History Month, contact the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus today.
Valentine’s Day projects are a great way for preschoolers to learn about crafting. Hearts are the order of the day, and decorating them in individual ways helps children build self-esteem as it enhances fine motor skills. At Mission Valley Montessori, we value the opportunity for children to learn and play at the same time, and these fun projects are great examples of how the two work in concert.
Valentine Yarn Hearts
Fold a sheet of construction paper in half and draw one side of a heart, with the center at the fold. Using scissors, cut along the drawn line and then unfold the paper to form a complete heart. Apply glue or paste to the paper and then cover it with but of colored yarn. Every child will have a slightly different heart shape and their individual creativity will guide them in choosing the pattern and color of the yarn they apply. This project is based on a much more generalized version you can refer to for an example.
This project is great for fine motor skill improvement. Fold several small pieces of paper in half and draw half a heart on them as in the previous project. Cut out the hearts and attach them together using glue and pieces of yarn. Your preschooler’s cutouts don’t have to be perfect, and there is plenty of room for creativity and personalization, including writing Valentine-related words on each heart.
We found an excellent idea on Amazon for creating a personalized mailbox for kids to collect valentines in. Cut a sheet of construction paper in half. Fold about an inch on each end of the paper to create tabs. Cut the unused piece of paper in half and glue the tabs to it, creating a flat bottom with a curved “box” on top. Use the final piece of construction paper to the back to close in the mailbox, and then let your child decorate it as they choose. Hint: Decorating the surface before gluing the tabs will make the project easier for small hands.
Doing projects with your preschooler encourages her to be more creative, and finishing a project will give her a sense of accomplishment she can show off to friends and family. For more suggestions of projects to do with your preschooler, ask your Mission Valley Montessori student guide for ideas you can do at home.