Reimagining Global Education: What if Every Child Went to a Montessori School?

When you consider the world’s most influential technology leaders – figures like Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates – you might be surprised to learn that they all have one thing in common: a preference for Montessori education for their own children.

Despite the fact that these titans of industry did not themselves attend Montessori schools growing up, they have chosen this scientifically-grounded pedagogical approach for the next generation.

What is it about Montessori that has captured the attention of some of the world’s most successful innovators?

The Montessori

Montessori's Proven Track Record

The Montessori method, developed over a century ago by Dr. Maria Montessori , is founded on the principles of hands-on, self-directed learning. Rather than traditional lecturing and rote memorization, Montessori classrooms emphasize exploration, problem-solving, and the holistic development of the child.

Research has consistently demonstrated that Montessori students excel academically, often performing above grade level in core subjects like math, reading, and science. But the benefits go far beyond test scores.

This focus on the “whole child” is a key distinguishing factor of the Montessori approach. In addition to academic subjects, Montessori education nurtures social-emotional skills like self-regulation, empathy, and collaboration. The multi-age classrooms also foster a sense of community and peer-to-peer learning.

But the impact would go far deeper. A world educated through Montessori would likely be more environmentally conscious, as the curriculum often includes lessons on sustainability and respect for the natural world.

There would also be greater equity and inclusion, as the Montessori method is designed to meet the unique needs of each individual child.

Montessori’s emphasis on independence, self-motivation, and personal responsibility could foster a new era of active, purpose-driven global citizenship.

The Montessori

Transforming Global Education

What if every child had access to a Montessori education? The implications would be profound. Academically, we’d see a dramatic rise in overall student achievement, with new generations of innovative problem-solvers and lifelong learners.

Perhaps most importantly, a universal Montessori education could cultivate more engaged, socially conscious citizens, empowered to drive positive change in their communities and beyond.

Yet, despite this proven track record, Montessori education currently accounts for only around 0.1% of the total global student population.

This small percentage represents a missed opportunity – a chance to leverage a scientifically validated pedagogy to transform educational outcomes worldwide.

The Montessori

The Wishful Path Forward

Of course, transitioning to a truly Montessori-based global education system would require significant investment, policy changes, and a concerted effort to expand access, particularly in underserved communities.

But the potential rewards are immense – a world of creative, emotionally intelligent, and environmentally responsible individuals working together to build a better future for all.

While the current 0.1% global share of Montessori education may seem disheartening, it also represents an untapped wellspring of transformative potential.

If we can unlock the power of Montessori for every child, we may just find ourselves living in a radically improved world – one characterized by academic excellence, creativity, emotional intelligence, environmental stewardship, equity, and active citizenship.

Of course all this right now is a wishful thinking, a dream. But I am willing to do my little part in the grand scheme of educational transformation that needs to happen for the sake of our future generations to come.

It’s is a future worth striving for.

What do you think?

Some Montessori schools around the world

The main ideas behind Piaget’s constructivist theory

The constructivist theory emphasizes that learning is an internal process of interpretation and construction triggered by experiences.

Jean Piaget’s theory of constructivism is a theory that explains how people acquire knowledge and learn.

Caregivers and teachers should create environments that promote active learning, inquiry, problem-solving and allow learners to construct their own understandings.

Jean Piaget's theory of constructivism
Jean Piaget's theory of constructivism

What to find out more?

Click on the link below

The Wisdom of Jean Piaget: Why Kids Learn Best Through Discovery

As an educator and a parent, I’ve always been fascinated by how children’s minds develop and the teaching approaches that best nurture their curiosity and understanding.

That’s why the work of Jean Piaget, the pioneering Swiss psychologist, has had such a profound influence on my teaching philosophy.

Jean Piaget’s advocacy for active, discovery-based learning methods was truly revolutionary and foundational for modern educational approaches that prioritize hands-on exploration and student-centered instruction.

However, despite the widespread embrace of these principles today, we often fail to appreciate the pioneering work and struggles of figures like Piaget who paved the way for such learning philosophies.

During Piaget’s time in the early 20th century, educational models were still heavily influenced by more traditional, instructor-led pedagogies. The idea that children actively construct their own knowledge through experiences was radical.

Piaget and his contemporaries had to fight against deeply entrenched conventions and mindsets that viewed children as mere receptacles for imparted facts and instruction.

For those unfamiliar, Piaget (1896-1980) was a true visionary who revolutionized how we think about childhood cognitive development. Prior to Piaget, most people simply viewed children as less competent thinkers compared to adults.

Jean Piaget

But through meticulous observations and interviews, Piaget demonstrated that children actually go through distinct stages of intellectual growth.

His seminal work outlined four key stages – the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational stages. At each juncture, Piaget revealed how a child’s mind builds increasingly sophisticated cognitive structures and reasoning abilities when interacting with the world around them.

The move towards hands-on, experiential learning espoused by Piaget represented a seismic philosophical shift – from viewing knowledge as transmitted content to understanding as an active process of equilibrating one’s mental frameworks.

This constructivist model bucked the authoritarian, one-size-fits-all educational approaches of the era.

Figures like Piaget, John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky and others were radicals in their times – insisting that curricula, instruction and classroom environments be reimagined to align with principles of cognitive development, inquiry-based learning and symbiotic teacher-student relationships.

They had to fight vehemently against the inertia of traditionalist factory models of education.

Piaget's Advocacy For 'Discovery Learning'

What was truly groundbreaking about Piaget’s ideas was the notion that children actively construct their own knowledge and understanding.

Jean Piaget

He showed that human intelligence is not merely transmitted through instruction, but shaped by the learner's experiences, interactions, and drive to make sense of their environment.

This core insight led Piaget to advocate for “discovery learning” – creating educational environments where children can explore concepts through hands-on activities suited to their developmental level.

Rather than just lecturing facts, Piaget inspiried student-centered approaches where teachers guide children to discover key principles through their own experimentation and problem-solving.

I used to teach in active early learning environments and my daughter also being a product of explorative and active early learning methods I’ve seen the power of Piaget’s ideas firsthand.

When my daughter was younger, we’d do simple activities like sorting shapes, counting objects, and observing changes in matter. She was always so curious and eager to figure things out through tactile exploration. Let me tell you it shapes an overall confident young human.

Even in upper grades, my former students thrived when I designed open-ended challenges and engaged them in cycles of hypothesis, experimentation and discussion.

By grappling with concepts through their own actions and observations, the learning became cemented as a personal "discovery" rather than imparted facts.

What We Can Learn From Jean Piaget

At its heart, Piaget’s pioneering work reminds us that productive learning is an innate human drive, not something that can be forced through rote instruction alone.

Our role as educators and parents is to create opportunities for children’s minds to grow by:

1. Meeting them at their level of cognitive development

2.Challenging them with disequilibrium experiences to evolve their mental frameworks.

3.Nurturing their curiosity through exploratory, hands-on activities.

4.Guiding them to discover key principles through their own actions and reflections.

Even today, with our advanced pedagogical research and understanding, we see many schools and policymakers still clinging to outmoded, standardized testing-centered models that prioritize rote knowledge over cultivating critical thinking, creativity and self-directed learning abilities.

So while the language and practices of “active learning” have become mainstream, realizing the deeper ethos behind it remains an ongoing struggle – just as it was for Piaget and other progressive thinkers who bucked the conventions of their era.

Essential Books By Jean Piaget

Here are several books written by Jean Piaget himself, as well as many other books written about his theories and ideas by other authors. Here are some of the most well-known and influential ones:

This groundbreaking work delves into how children develop language, thought, and knowledge. Jean Piaget, a prominent developmental psychologist, explored how children actively construct their understanding of the world through language.

The language and thought of the child
The child's conception of the world

This remarkable work explores into the ways in which the reasoning powers of young children differ from those of adults. It explores questions such as: What conceptions of the world do children naturally form at different stages of their development?

This influential work looks into the beginnings of intelligence, focusing on sensorimotor intelligence and the most elementary forms of expression. Piaget’s exploration of sensorimotor schemata and the mechanism of mental assimilation has sparked much discussion and interest among scholars and readers alike

The Origins of Intelligence in Children” by Jean Piaget
The Construction of Reality in the Child” by Jean Piaget

Originally published in 1954, delves into the fascinating realm of child development and cognition. It unveils cognitive development. It unveils the intricate interplay between assimilation, schemata, and the emergence of a coherent worldview.

“Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood” offers a rich tapestry of observations, theories, and reflections on the intricate world of child psychology. It stands independently while also referencing Piaget’s other works on child development

Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood
The Psychology of Intelligence

This significant work contains a complete synthesis of Piaget’s thoughts on the mechanisms of intellectual development. It is an extraordinary volume by an extraordinary writer. Given his significance, it is hardly surprising that Psychology Today pronounced Piaget the Best Psychologist of the twentieth century

“The Moral Judgment of the Child” offers rich material, detailed observations, and thought-provoking discussions on how children learn to differentiate between right and wrong. Piaget’s unique approach sheds light on the complexities of moral development

The Moral Judgment of the Child

Books About Piaget's Ideas by Other Authors:

provides a comprehensive overview of Jean Piaget’s groundbreaking theories. This generous selection of the most important of Piaget’s writings spans a period of some seventy years, organizing the core of his remarkable contribution in a way that clarifies and illuminates his aims, ideas, and underlying theme

The Essential Piaget”, edited by Howard E. Gruber and J. Jacques Voneche
Piaget's Theory of Cognitive and Affective Development : Foundations of Constructivism

“Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive and Affective Development” offers a rich exploration of how children’s thinking evolves, their understanding of reality develops, and the role of social interaction in shaping cognition. Barry Wadsworth’s work preserves Piaget’s historically important research while incorporating updates in critical areas

Originally published in 2000, critically examines the constructivist theory of learning, particularly its impact on science education. Matthews encourages thoughtful reflection on the theory’s impact in educational contexts.

Constructivism and Science Education: A Further Appraisal” by Michael R. Matthews
Piaget’s Theory of Intellectual Development” by Herbert Ginsburg and Sylvia Opper,

“Piaget’s Theory of Intellectual Development” offers a gateway into Piaget’s world of cognitive development, providing valuable insights for educators, researchers, and anyone interested in child psychology

“Piaget and His School” provides a window into the intellectual journey of Jean Piaget, the collaborative spirit of the Genevan school, and the enduring impact of their collective efforts.

“Piaget and His School” by J.A. Bringuier
Understanding Piaget” by W.F. Overton

Understanding Piaget” is a valuable resource for scholars, researchers, and advanced students seeking a nuanced exploration of Piagetian theory. It invites readers to engage deeply with the intricacies of cognitive development and its multifaceted connections to social context.

Well these are just some of the many books that have been written exploring Piaget’s incredibly influential body of work on childhood development and learning. His ideas sparked intense study, debate, and application in education and psychology.

Some of these books are available on

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW

openlibrary.org

In conclusion in our modern age of technology and rapidly evolving knowledge, these constructivist principles are more essential than ever.

Facts can be looked up instantly, but the ability to actively learn, reason and create understanding is the greatest gift we can provide our children.

So let’s embrace Jean Piaget’s profound insights by empowering our students and kids as young scientists – hungry to interact with the world, formulate their own ideas, and experience the thrill of learning through discovery.

We owe a tremendous debt to these educational liberty fighters who imagined and evidenced more enriching, student-empowering models of learning and teaching.

Their legacy demands that we remain steadfast in realizing the full transformative potential of their visions.

There is so much to discover and explore in Piaget’s ‘Discovery Learning’.

Let me know what inspired you the most.

If you like this post you might also like

The Importance of Understanding Developmental Milestones of Your Children

See you in another post!

The Timeless Beauty of Rose Water

For thousands of years, rose water has been revered for its exquisite floral aroma and remarkable skincare properties. This ancient elixir has stood the test of time, tracing its roots to the royal palaces of Persia, the fabled gardens of Morocco, and the lavish harems of the Ottoman Empire.

In the ancient world, rose water was a prized possession of queens and nobility. The legendary Cleopatra was said to bathe in rose-infused waters to preserve her stunning beauty.

The allure of rose water lies in its natural, gentle power. Extracted through steam distillation of fresh rose petals, it captures the vibrant essence of the rose – rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and therapeutic compounds. A true multi-tasker rose water offers an array of benefits for the skin:

Hydration : Rich in nutrients, it provides deep hydration without leaving an oily residue, plumping and reviving dry, tired skin.

Soothing : The anti-inflammatory properties help calm irritation, redness, and puffiness, making it ideal for sensitive complexions.

Radiance : Its mild astringent nature helps tone and tighten pores, restoring a fresh, radiant glow.

Anti-Aging : Antioxidants combat free radical damage to prevent premature aging and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Healing : The natural antibacterial and antiseptic qualities of rose water promote faster healing of blemishes and acne.

Perhaps rose water’s most sublime benefit is its heavenly fragrance that captivates the senses. The soft, floral aroma induces feelings of calmness and serenity – a simple pleasure that has been cherished across cultures for ages.

rose water

Rose Water

Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

  • - 1 cup fresh rose petals about 20-25 petals, rinsed and patted dry
  • - 2 cups distilled water

Instructions
 

  • Remove the white portion at the base of the rose petals as this can make the rose water bitter.
  • 2.Place the rose petals in a saucepan and pour in the distilled water.
  • 3.Bring the water to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Once it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and allow the petals to steep for 30 minutes.
  • 4. Remove pan from heat and allow it to cool completely.
  • 5. Once cooled, strain out the rose petals using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Gently press on the petals to extract all the rose-infused liquid.
  • 6. Transfer the rose water into a sterilized bottle or jar and seal tightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

To Use:
After cleansing your face, pour some rose water onto a cotton pad and gently wipe over your face and neck. Allow to air dry.
You can also add rose water to your moisturizer or face masks.
Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin. 
rose water 

Soothing Rose Water Baths

Rose water makes an excellent addition to baths because it imparts a light, relaxing floral scent. The vitamin C provides antioxidants it soothes and hydrates skin. It can help relieve stress/anxiety

rosewater

So many ways and benefits to using rose water, let me know how you like using yours?

The Importance of Understanding Developmental Milestones of Your Children

Why is it so important to understand our children’s developmental milestones? We all reach a lot of significant milestones throughout our whole lives, but the beginning first few years of our lives are the basis for all.

Those first few years are magical. In the blink of an eye, a newborn transforms into a young child – bouncing, questioning, exploring the world around them. With every passing month, incredible developmental leaps happen before our eyes.

Yet, this rapid fire of growth and change isn’t just delightful to witness. Having an awareness of the pivotal stages of child development is profoundly important for ensuring we provide the supportive experiences all children need to thrive.

Understanding Normal Developmental Milestones

Knowing what is typical at different ages and stages allows parents, teachers, and caregivers to have appropriate expectations for children’s abilities and behavior.

These milestones encompass various areas such as physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. For instance, infants typically reach milestones like lifting their head, rolling over, and babbling, while toddlers may start walking and saying words.

However, it’s essential to remember that each child develops at their own pace, and minor variations are normal. Regular monitoring and open communication with healthcare/education professionals can provide reassurance and guidance throughout a child’s developmental journey.

Early Identification of Delays or Disabilities

A parent being aware of developmental norms makes it easier to recognize if a child is struggling or falling behind in areas like language, cognitive, motor, or social skills.

Awareness will help us seek early intervention if needed.

Supporting Children's Needs

Knowledge of the different stages of child development enables adults to tailor their interactions, activities, discipline strategies, and teaching methods to be responsive to the child’s current capacities and needs.

A 2-year-old is going through a normal stage of desiring independence and autonomy. Knowing this, parents avoid battles over menial things like clothing choices and instead provide limited options to allow the child to feel in control (“Would you like to wear the red shirt or the blue one?”).

Fostering Growth

Understanding developmental concepts guides how to create enriching environments and provide stimulating experiences that nurture children’s overall growth in domains like language, cognitive abilities, emotional regulation, etc.

For a 4-year-old child, caregivers know this is a prime age for developing language skills. To nurture this, they create a print-rich environment with labels on objects, have plenty of age-appropriate books, and engage the child in frequent conversations – asking open-ended questions, introducing new vocabulary words, and expanding on what the child says.

Building Strong Relationships

Knowing what children can comprehend and communicate at different ages promotes better attunement and bonding between children and their caregivers. For a 9-month-old baby, caregivers understand this is a stage where the baby is becoming more socially engaged and attentive to faces/voices, but has extremely limited verbal abilities.

For a 9-month-old baby, caregivers understand this is a stage where the baby is becoming more socially engaged and attentive to faces/voices, but has extremely limited verbal abilities.

Instead of trying to engage the baby in lengthy monologues, the caregiver gets down on the baby’s level, makes warm eye contact, and uses exaggerated facial expressions, gestures, and simple baby talk phrases like “Hi baby!” and “You’re so smiley!”

Promoting School Readiness

Awareness of developmental progressions in areas like pre-literacy, pre-math, attention, etc. allows for better preparation for the transition to formal schooling.

Preschool teachers are aware of the key pre-literacy and pre-math skills that are precursors to academic learning.

Teachers also work on skills like listening, following multi-step directions, taking turns, and persisting at tasks – all critical for school readiness.

In essence, being knowledgeable about child development empowers parents, educators and society to optimally support and nurture children through their vital early years of growth and learning.

This developmentally-appropriate tailoring based on age allows the child to understand expectations, engage meaningfully, and feel supported rather than frustrated in all ascpect of their young life.

What milestones is your little one on?

What Big Feelings Are Telling You: A Tip To Regulate Them

Emotions and our physical body are intrinsically connected. Have you ever had something very positive, exciting, and exhilarating thing happen to you? You have those feelings for days, you feel light, weightless almost like you are floating, and everything is bright.

On the other hand, have you ever gotten bad news or gone through a bad experience? All sorts of negative emotions flood inside you. You feel heavy, your visions are dull and there is a tightness in your chest or gut that just won’t go away. Well, life is filled with ebbs and flows, the highs and lows.

Just like grown-ups, children experience a wide range of emotions – both positive and negative. Emotions are a normal and healthy part of life for people of all ages.

The positive emotions like joy, excitement, and happiness usually feel really good. When children are positively emotionally engaged, you’ll see their faces light up, their energy increase, and genuine smiles or laughter. These uplifting emotions help motivate them and make meaningful connections.

However, children also face negative emotions like sadness, anger, fear, and frustration at times, just as adults do. These harder feelings can manifest through crying, shouting, withdrawing, or acting out behaviors. The intensity of children’s negative emotions may seem bigger simply because their emotional regulation skills are still developing.

The degree to which a child experiences emotions can vary greatly depending on their age, temperament, and the situation itself.

Negative Emotions are Your Friends Too

Negative emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, or fear are often seen as something to be avoided or gotten rid of quickly. However, these emotions actually serve an important purpose – they are signals that something isn’t right or that a need is not being met.

Rather than shunning or suppressing negative emotions in children, we should validate them and use them as cues to explore what boundary may have been crossed or what underlying need requires addressing.

For Example – child is exhibiting anger , it may indicate a boundary around their personal space, possessions or choices has been violated in some way.

Sadness may signal a need for more nurturing, comfort or connection that isn’t being fulfilled. Frustration often means the child is struggling with a challenge that exceeds their current skills and capabilities.

Fear can be an indicator that the child feels overwhelmed, overstimulated or unsafe in their environment. Rather than minimizing it, we need to make them feel protected.

Instead of shutting negative emotions down, we should lean in with empathy and curiosity to understand the message behind the feeling. It’s providing valuable feedback about what that child requires to feel balanced and secure.

Some Facts About the Brain and Anxiety

We can not and I repeat we can not effectively deal with anxiety or any other negative emotion by shoving positivity down our throat, the key to dealing with those emotions is to PRESENT not POSITIVE. Positivity has its place and time. But when your brain is really, really anxious that means it’s at a heightened emotional state and in that moment your brain doesn’t care about positivity or postive affirmations it cares about keeping you alive.

Recognize – Notice and name the emotion you’re feeling without judgment. Become aware of how it’s affecting your thoughts, body sensations, and behaviors in that moment.

Regulate -Use coping strategies to consciously manage and soothe the intense emotional and physiological responses. This could include deep breathing, movement, mindfulness, or other self-soothing techniques.

Reframe– Once you’ve created some space from the intensity, reevaluate the situation through a more balanced lens. Reframe your perspective in a more constructive way that reduces emotional reactivity.

Recognize allows you to identify what you’re feeling.

Regulate helps you defuse the intensity and regain control.

Reframe enables you to look at the situation with a cooler mindset.

This 3 R’s process helps bring the rational brain back online when the survival brain has taken over due to distressing emotions.

Books to read for more insights into the 3 R's and emotional regulation

"The Whole-Brain Child" by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

The Whole Brain Child Book

This insightful book delves into 12 revolutionary strategies for nurturing your child’s developing mind, navigating everyday parenting challenges, and fostering a thriving family. Drawing on the latest neuroscience research, it provides practical advice to help you understand and support your child’s emotional and intellectual growth.

"Permission to Feel" by Marc Brackett

Permission To Feel

Focuses on the RULER technique (Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, Regulating emotions) which aligns with the 3 Rs framework. Marc Brackett, a professor at Yale University’s Child Study Center, shares a remarkably effective plan for improving the lives of children and adults.

"The Mind and Emotions" by Matt McKay, Patrick Fanning, and Carole Honeychurch

The Mind and Emotions

This book covers cognitive-behavioral strategies for recognizing thoughts/emotions, regulating, and reframing. Rather than addressing individual emotions like anxiety, anger, shame, or depression separately, it tackles the root of emotional suffering as a whole.

"The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook" by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey C. Wood, and Jeffrey Brantley

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook

DBT skills like mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation map onto the 3 Rs process. Distress tolerance skills help you manage crises without exacerbating the situation. They allow you to maintain clarity even when faced with intense emotional distress.

Here is a little mindful body scanning activity you can do with your children

Click and watch the video

My Voice will guide you for the first session, you can help guide your children or discuss the processes so they can do it on their own depending on how old your child/children are.

Emotions are not good or bad they are signals

Overall, the key takeaway is learning to make room for and listen to our emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant, with curiosity rather than judgment. Our feelings contain valuable data about our internal experiences and needs.

With self-awareness and regulation skills, we can mindfully respond to emotions instead of unconsciously reacting. It’s an ongoing practice of mind-body connection.

Delicious Napa Cabbage Kimchi At Home

My daughter’s favorite food at the moment is Korean kimchi and Japanese Sushi, it has been for a while. We like eating Kimchi as a side to anything Korean, Japanese, or Chinese we make at home. Come on let’s make this probiotic superfood! Save it in a jar for when you need it. It lasts a long time.

Kimchi Korean Side Dish

Kimchi is a very versatile and flavorful Korean fermented vegetable dish, so it can be eaten with many different foods.

It is a staple banchan (side dish) served alongside a bowl of steamed white rice. The tangy, spicy kimchi complements the plain rice perfectly.

Kimchi Korean side

Kimchi goes well with grilled or pan-fried meats like bulgogi (marinated beef), jeyuk bokkeum (spicy stir-fried pork), or grilled fish. A small amount of chopped kimchi is often added to enhance the flavor of stews like kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) or soups.

Chopped kimchi is a common filling for mandu (dumplings) or dduk bun (rice flour buns). There are so many more cuisines that Kimchi is a part of.

Kimchi Korean Side Dish

Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Total Time 2 hours
Cuisine Korean

Ingredients
  

1 large napa cabbage (about 2 lbs), quartered lengthwise with cores removed

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup water

8-10 large garlic cloves, minced

1 piece fresh ginger (2-inch), peeled and grated

1/2 cup Korean chili powder (gochugaru)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

10-12 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup julienned carrot

1 small daikon radish, julienned (optional)

    Instructions
     

    1. In a large bowl, salt the cabbage quarters by sprinkling salt between the leaves. Add water, then weigh down the cabbage with a plate to keep it submerged. Let stand for 1-2 hours.

    2. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water to remove salt and drain well. With your hands, gently squeeze out any excess liquid from the cabbage. Set aside.

    3. In a small bowl, make the kimchi paste by mixing the garlic, ginger, chili powder, fish sauce, and sugar.

    4. Using your hands, gently squeeze out any remaining liquid from the cabbage. Transfer cabbage and any liquid to a large glass or ceramic bowl.

    5. Add the kimchi paste, green onions, carrot, and radish (if using). Using your hands, massage the vegetables with paste until evenly coated.

    6. Pack the kimchi tightly into a glass jar or fermentation crock. Press down to remove air pockets.

    7. Cover with fermentation weight or airtight lid. Let ferment at room temperature for 1-2 days before transferring to cold storage.

      Notes

      The actual hands-on prep takes around 1 hour. But you'll need to factor in the 1-2 hours for letting the salted cabbage release liquid as well.
      So in total, you need to allocate 2-3 hours from start to finish to prepare this authentic kimchi before it can begin fermenting. Eat fresh or allow to ferment further, refrigerating for up to 1 year. Let it ferment further for increased sourness.
      Enjoy!

      The Benefits of Social-Emotional Books for Early Learning Development

      As children develop, they learn to identify and gradually regulate their feelings. With the help of language, they can talk about their emotions instead of just acting on them.

      With adult support and their own growing awareness, children also develop an understanding of other people’s feelings and emotions and how they defer from theirs.

      The social-emotional aspect of child development plays a crucial role in a child’s overall growth and well-being. It encompasses the ability to understand and manage emotions, develop healthy relationships, and navigate social situations effectively.

      reading

      Social-emotional books can be a powerful tool in supporting the early years foundation of a child's social-emotional development.

      These books often feature relatable characters and scenarios that children can connect with, helping them to understand and process their own emotions and experiences.

      By exposing children to stories that explore themes such as friendship, empathy, self-awareness, and conflict resolution, social-emotional books can provide valuable lessons and strategies for navigating the complexities of social interactions and emotional regulation. You can also incorporate literacy activities based on a specific book and expand the learning experience.

      For example – using the book “When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry ” by Molly Bang:

      when Sophie Gets Angry- Really really Angry

      Activity : Exploring Emotions and Coping Strategies.

      Objectives : Identify and name different emotions

      Understand the importance of expressing emotions in a healthy way

      Explore coping strategies for managing strong emotions

      Materials :

      Book: “When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry” by Molly Bang

      Emotion cards or pictures representing different feelings (e.g., happy, sad, angry, scared, surprised)

      Paper and art supplies (crayons, markers, etc.)

      Introduction:

      Start by reading the book “When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry” to the class.

      Discuss the different emotions Sophie experienced throughout the story and how her anger escalated.

      Activity:

      Emotion Identification: Show the emotion cards or pictures to the children.

      Ask them to name each emotion and share a time when they felt that way.

      Sophie’s Emotions: Revisit the story and have the children identify the emotions Sophie experienced at different points in the narrative.

      Coping Strategies: Discuss the coping strategies Sophie used to manage her anger, such as going for a walk, kicking a tree, and eventually calming down.

      Art Expression: Provide each child with paper and art supplies. Ask them to draw or create a representation of a time when they felt really angry or upset, and illustrate how they coped with that emotion.

      Closure:

      Have children share their artwork and discuss the coping strategies they depicted.

      Emphasize the importance of expressing emotions healthily and safely, just like Sophie did.

      Encourage children to use the strategies they learned from the book and the activity when they experience strong emotions in the future.

      Extension Activities: In active learning, every subject matter can be connected and incorporated into the other learning areas.

      So extensions can look like creating an art project that will last more than a week so, you can continue to discuss and reinforce the importance of Identifying emotions and coping with emotions healthily.

      We once made a Big Sophie tree out of wood in art. It was placed on the wall of the library. Children used it as their claiming corner.

      Create a classroom “Calm Corner” with books, stuffed animals, and other calming tools for children to use when they need to manage big emotions.

      Introduce mindfulness and deep breathing exercises as additional coping strategies.

      Invite children to share their own experiences and strategies for dealing with emotions like anger or frustration.

      This activity promotes emotional literacy , self-awareness , and healthy coping mechanisms by using the relatable story and characters from a book.

      Here is a list of Social-emotional books I personally like to read and/or incorporate into activities.

      Grumpy bird

      Grumpy Bird is a delightful children’s book written and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard . In this charming tale, Bird wakes up feeling grumpy—too grumpy to eat, play, or even fly.

      It’s a heartwarming story that reminds us of the power of friendship and how even the grumpiest days can turn brighter when shared with loved ones. 🦜🌟

      The feelings book

      The Feelings Book by Todd Parr is a wonderful exploration of emotions for young children. In this vibrant and engaging board book, Parr celebrates the wide range of feelings we all experience.

      From feeling silly to feeling brave, the book playfully captures the ever-changing and sometimes nonsensical emotions that make us human. The bold, bright colors and silly scenes make it accessible and relatable for kids.

      My Many colored days

      My Many Colored Days is a children’s book written by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss . Accompanying a manuscript Geisel wrote in 1974 was a letter outlining his hopes of finding “a great color artist who will not be dominated by me.” Geisel saw his original text about feelings and moods as part of the “first book ever to be based on beautiful illustrations and sensational color.”

      Over the years I have taught so many litercy and social-emotional activities using this book. In this rhyming story, each day is described in terms of a particular color, which is associated with a specific emotion. The vibrant illustrations and unique approach cover a range of moods and feelings, making it a wonderful way for parents and teachers to talk with children about their emotions.

      I was so mad

      I Was So Mad is another one written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer . In this classic, funny, and heartwarming story, Little Critter experiences quite a grumpy day. The Critter family keeps saying “no” to just about everything Little Critter wants to do. Whether it’s keeping frogs in the tub or helping paint the house, Little Critter’s frustration grows. But will his bad day be salvaged with a little help from a friend? ‘Little Critters series are all gems’ 📚🦔

      I hate everything

      I Hate Everything! A book about feeling angry is another awesome children’s book written by Sue Graves and illustrated by Desideria Guicciardini. In this engaging story, Sam is having a bad day, and nothing seems to be going right. His dad is too busy to play with him, he dislikes his lunch, and even Archie’s party doesn’t bring him joy. But can Aunt Jen help him manage his anger?

      Be Kind

      Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller is a heartwarming picture book that beautifully illustrates the power of kindness. When Tanisha accidentally spills grape juice on her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it truly means to be kind. From inviting the new girl to play to standing up against bullying, this moving and thoughtful story explores the impact of small acts of kindness.

      Each gesture, no matter how small, can make a difference in someone’s day—or at least help a friend.

      Each gesture, no matter how small, can make a difference in someone’s day—or at least help a friend.

      Lama lama Mad at Mama

      Lama Lama Mad at Mama is a delightful and rhythmic phrase that captures the playful emotions of a child. It’s like a little poetic chant, expressing a child’s frustration or annoyance with their mother. The repetition of “Lama lama” adds a sing-song quality, making it memorable and endearing. ‘Love all Lama Lama book series by Anna D. ‘ 🦙💕

      Grumpy Monkey says No!

      Grumpy Monkey Says NO! is a fun children’s book written by Suzanne Lang and illustrated by Max Lang . In this original board book, Jim Panzee, the grumpy monkey, seems to have a penchant for saying “no” to everything. Whether it’s going for a walk, having a playdate, or even eating a banana, Jim’s default response is a resounding “no.” But can he ever decide to say “YES” instead?

      A Sick Day for Amos McGee

      A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a heartwarming children’s picture book written by Philip C . Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. In this delightful tale, we meet Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper who has formed deep bonds with the animals he cares for. Each day, Amos visits his good friends at the zoo, ensuring he meets their unique needs.

      A heartwarming tale of friendship, compassion, and the joy of caring for others, all wrapped up in the cozy world of a zookeeper and his animal friends.

      How Do Dinosaurs say I'm MAD?

      How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? is an intersting children’s book written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. In this playful and relatable story, dinosaurs exhibit various behaviors when they are angry. From sticking out their tongues to throwing tantrums, the dinosaurs’ antics capture the range of emotions associated with being mad.

      But fear not! The book also teaches young readers how to handle their tempers—whether through counting to ten, taking a timeout, or practicing calm breathing. All of the ‘How Do Dinosaurs’ book series’ are my favorites.

      Big Feelings

      Big Feelings is a powerful and uplifting picture book written by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman . In this heartwarming story, a group of children navigate their neighborhood, experiencing a range of emotions—both big and small.

      From anger and frustration to hope and inspiration, the children learn to see the world from different points of view. The book celebrates diversity, kindness, and the importance of acknowledging our feelings

      The way I feel

      The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is a wonderful children’s book that uses strong, colorful, and expressive images to help children connect words with emotions. In this beautifully illustrated book, kids learn useful words to name their feelings, just as they name all things in their world.

      I Like myself

      I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont is a delightful children’s book that celebrates self-acceptance and self-love. In this joyous rhyming tale, a little girl embraces everything about herself—inside and out. Whether she has messy hair or beaver breath, she knows what truly matters. The book’s sassy and soulful text, paired with David Catrow’s wild illustrations, encourages kids to appreciate their uniqueness and feel good about who they are.

      Some Days

      Some Days by Karen Kaufman Orloff is a moving and delightful exploration of a child’s shifting feelings. In this rhyming picture book, readers follow a year in the life of a young boy and girl as they experience a wide range of emotions—joy, fear, anger, jealousy, excitement, pride, disappointment, loneliness, and contentment.

      From “angels in the snow days” to “need my mommy now days,” children learn how to cope with both positive and negative feelings. The book encourages open discussions about emotions and helps kids understand that it’s okay to feel different things at different times.

      Love You Forever

      Last but definitely not least, Love You Forever is a touching children’s picture book written by Robert Munsch and beautifully illustrated by Sheila McGraw . The story centers around the enduring love between a mother and her son.

      When I first started teaching and I used to Read this Book to my Pre-K group, I used to bawl my eyes out. Teaching moment I suppose.

      In the end as a parent or a teacher, reading stories/books that explore diverse experiences and perspectives can foster empathy and understanding your children.

      Many social-emotional books present characters facing challenges or conflicts, providing opportunities for children to learn effective problem-solving strategies.

      Books that model healthy coping mechanisms and emotional regulation can help children develop these important skills.

      Stories that highlight positive social behaviors, such as sharing, cooperation, and conflict resolution, can encourage children to apply these skills in their own interactions.

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      Nurturing Essential Skills in Early Learners: A Play-Based, Child-Led Approach

      Approaches to learning looks at how children acquire knowledge and skills. It includes the set of skills sometimes referred to as ‘critical thinking’ or ‘executive function’. Having a positive attitude towards learning is essential for children to engage with school and succeed in life as adults.

      From infancy through the early primary grades, children approach learning in different ways. They bring unique temperaments, habits, and preferences to how they explore, discover, and draw conclusions about the world and the people in it.

      Curiosity and initiative taking

      Children from birth show their eagerness to learn by choosing to participate in activities that they find interesting and personally meaningful.

      An innate drive to examine objects, ask questions, and experiment with cause and effect lays the foundation for scientific inquiry and problem-solving.

      They explore their environments through their senses, movement, play, and social interactions. That is where active play-based learning comes in. Teachers facilitate and nurture that curiosity.

      For example – Luke, age 4, was playing outdoors when he spotted an ant hill. He crouched down and watched the ants scurrying around for a few minutes. “They’re so busy!” he remarked. Luke then grabbed a stick and poked it into different areas of the anthill to see how the ants reacted. The ants swarmed around the stick, some crawling onto it. “Why are they crawling on my stick?” Luke asked the teacher. Not waiting for an answer, Luke then said “I’m going to move some over here and see what they do.”

      He gently dragged the stick with clustering ants over a few feet away from the original spot. Luke observed the ants wander around seemingly disoriented for a bit, before forming a line to march back over to their anthill. “They know how to find their home!”

      Persistence and attention span

      Children differ in their ability to focus attention and persist on relevant tasks. Open-ended, engaging activities in line with interests and learning styles best promote focused investigation.

      For example – Anna is a 4-year old girl with a lot of energy and curiosity. She easily loses interest when activities require sitting still for more than a few minutes at a time. When her teacher leads activities involving worksheets or listening to long stories, Anna starts fidgeting, looking around, or attempting to chat with peers.

      Her teacher observes that Anna becomes deeply focused when playing in the block center. Over multiple days, Anna works diligently on an elaborate castle, carefully selecting the right-sized blocks, and building multiple towers.

      In contrast to the paper-pencil tasks Anna abandoned within 5 minutes, self-directed and creative activities like block building help channel her curiosity, energy, and interests into focused investigation.

      Her teacher then incorporates the Literacy or numeracy aspect of the teaching by sticking letters or numbers on the blocks she likes to work on, so she can absorb what she needs to learn in a fun way.

      Having autonomy over the experience and using her hands seem to enable Anna’s persistence, attention span, and task completion abilities that emerge inconsistently otherwise.

      By providing more time, space and materials for these absorbing activities tailored to Anna’s open-ended style of learning, her teacher nurtures investigation, self-direction and other learning to learn skills.

      Confidence and willingness to take risks

      Environments, where mistakes are embraced rather than punished, encourage healthy trial-and-error. At ages where self-concept emerges, positive reinforcement builds confidence to venture answers.

      Positive reinforcement looks like:

      Praising effort over outcomes “I see you worked so hard to build that tower even when it kept falling. Good work!”

      Embrace mistakes warmly “Oh that didn’t work as planned! Why do you think it fell over this time? What could we try differently?”

      Encourage peer support Build a collaborative classroom culture where children coach and help each other. “If you work together you can build a bigger tower.”

      Be patient with thinking time Rather than expecting instant answers, give children ample processing time, ask open ended questions, and restate ideas to validate thinking.

      Provide non-judgmental feedback Steer away from evaluative language – rather than “wrong approach”, reframe as “let’s test this another way!”

      Spotlight risk taskers Occasionally highlight children who showcase persistence amid challenge – this shows all efforts, even those not immediately successful, get recognized.

      Discover learning style inclinations early Children have unique needs – help tactile learners embrace manipulatives, and let highly social learners co-investigate.

      The goal is to make the classroom a safe launchpad for venturing ideas, testing theories, and making adjustments. This encourages both autonomous pursuits as well as group cooperation and communication. This mindset fuels engagement, resilience, and accelerated learning.

      Executive Function

      Foundational cognitive self-regulation skills are needed to set goals, control impulses, retain and apply new information. Play and integrated learning activities exercise these “learning to learn” abilities.

      You can facilitate "Learning To Learn" abilities by:

      Talking through your own thinking process step-by-step as you complete tasks. Use think-aloud to externalize problem-solving, planning, and organizing thoughts.

      Providing hands-on supports like visual schedules, checklists, and timers to guide children through the steps of exercising goal-setting, working memory, and self-control. Then gradually remove the supports.

      Implementing learning centers – Areas for specific types of play promote focus, resisting distraction, and impulse control to follow designated rules. Rotate materials to sustain novelty.

      Offering choices – Within defined parameters, choices boost goal-oriented behavior and decision-making skills. Adapt choices based on the child’s capabilities. Choosing boards in learning areas encourages independent and confident thinkers.

      Encouraging self-talk – Foster verbal mediation skills through modeling and questioning – “What is your next step?” “How will you stay focused?

      Recognizing diligence towards learning goals. The process is more important than outcomes when building executive function.

      Revisit instructions, asking children to restate key info in their own words. Repeating back taps working memory & attention. Planning and recall time before and after activities will strengthen the memory of the learning that was done.

      What I love about active learning is that it provides opportunities – directly and subtly embedded into activities and exercises mental flexibility and self-regulation skills and overall executive function skills which are essential in the foundation stage of any kinder learner.

      play based learning , active learning

      Cooperative Disposition

      From parallel play to collaborative experiences, young children build skills in communication, compromise, and negotiations – laying the groundwork for cooperative inquiry.

      Verbally work through conflicts, Setting expectations but allowing choices. Engineering natural opportunities for peer collaboration through activities needing multiple players. Use language emphasizing community over individual “Our classroom” “Let’s work together” “Our friends”

      Facilitate peer discussions allowing children space to listen to each other respectfully. Praise not just outcomes but efforts towards teamwork. Provide opportunities for differentiation and interdependence.

      children going through expectations and making choices

      In conclusion cultivating positive approaches to learning across these dimensions is essential for success in any early learning stages as well as enabling lifelong learning and adaptive skills.

      Approaches to learning sets the stage for future academic and lifelong success. An effective early childhood environment nurtures curiosity, persistence, cooperation, and other learning-how-to learn proficiencies via developmentally appropriate hands-on, integrated activities tailored to children’s innate hunger for exploration, discovery and collaborative inquiry. Assessment and instruction should focus not just on content objectives but also process goals that strengthen burgeoning work habits.

      Equipping children with essential cognitive strategies and motivational mindsets ensures learning readiness now and learning agility for the future. I have always and will always believe in the impact and positive influence that active learning has on young children.

      What learning method are you passionate about? I would love to hear from you.

      Bustronome: A Moving Gourmet Experience in London Honest Review

      My husband and I recently tried the unique dining concept of Bustronome – a gourmet restaurant aboard a touring double-decker bus in London.

      We were intrigued by the idea of fine dining combined with sightseeing and booked their 6-course tasting menu with the optional wine pairing.

      From the start, Bustronome delivered on the promise of mixing cuisine and culture. As we boarded, our host showed us to our table upstairs which afforded good views out the panoramic windows.

      Bustronome

      Soon we were gliding through London taking in views of Big Ben, the London Eye, and other iconic landmarks while going through an elaborate menu.

      The food itself was hit or miss. The highlights for me were the creative dishes like Roasted Aubergine salad and Tuna Tartar. Others like Pan Seared Salmon and Rack of Lamb were too flat for my taste, I love my spices.

      Desert was good, I liked the presentation.

      There was good coordination between the timing of the dishes and the key sites we were passing outside.

      While not every dish wowed me, I thoroughly enjoyed the unique Bustronome experience. The wine pairings were excellent, highlighting food-friendly English white and red blends.

      Service was attentive even as the bus navigated narrow city streets. And the ever-changing urban scenery made for a more engaging setting than your typical stationary restaurant.

      Overall, I would recommend Bustronome for the novel experience. The execution of the cuisine was uneven, but the inspired concept behind a moving gourmet bus restaurant more than made up for any shortcomings.

      It’s a memorable way to see London through a culinary lens. So if you’re looking for a truly unique dining adventure in London, give Bustronome a try!

      Bustronome

      Click here Bustronome London to book your adventure.