DOES CHIA SEED FEED INTO AREA SCHOOLS?
Our educational philosophy does not specifically prepare children for standardized tests, nor do we encourage competition among students. And yet, as we all know,
the private school admission scene in Los Angeles can be intimidatingly competitive. Fortunately, the care we take with your child’s education extends to the road beyond preschool.
A Montessori education gives us the chance to get to know your child very well, which is a plus when working alongside families on Kindergarten applications and placement.
Our graduates apply to both private and public competitive programs where they have successfully been admitted and thrive.
Over the last 4 years, CSLC children have matriculated into many schools in Los Angeles, such as Braddock Elementary, Broadway, Chapman, Da Vinci Charter School, Turning Point,Polytechnic School, Brentwood School, Chadwick School.
Montessori students are attractive candidates for these schools: they stand out because they typically are self-motivated and socially adept, and they enjoy learning. Here is the Montessori-informed view of what to consider as you begin the application process:
Apply to a minimum of 3 to 5 schools
Consider the proximity to your home
Speak to your children’s current teacher regarding the best fit
Speak to other parents about their experiences
Review the application process for each school, to get acquainted with age and other requirements
Visit the schools
IS CHINESE IMMERSION MONTESSORI RIGHT FOR MY CHILD?
Montessori is not for everyone — no school is. But many different kinds of children benefit from the method. While our classrooms have been noted for their atmosphere of quiet focus, the method is not just for quiet kids. We do in fact teach many expressive individuals with big personalities. Like every school, we have students who like to run, jump, and explore their surroundings with their unique energy, and we respect each child’s rhythm and pace and encourage their unique approach to learning.
This is why our Parent and Me program is such an important step in the decision-making process. This is an essential part of our method — an immersive experience that gives you the opportunity to see how your child interacts with the Montessori environment. It also allows the educators to observe your child in action and make an informed decision regarding fit.
Through this experience, parents come to understand the method more fully and can see the initial progress of their children. The second and third classes can be especially revelatory. A parent concerned about how a rambunctious child might fit in could see a child start to adapt. A distracted child might become more attentive. The reason we believe so strongly in this stage is that parents can see what is working for their child before they decide on a school.
Children who flourish with the Montessori method have a few things in common: they are interested in figuring out how things work and enjoy making discoveries on their own. They enjoy their autonomy and they decide how long they stay with their chosen materials. This process allows the children to choose how they interact with the material at their pace and through their own internal clock. The facilitators encourage and present guided independent work, and we see the children thrive through exploration.
This process keeps building on itself. As the kids get more comfortable, they become more autonomous and independent, and they start choosing more difficult activities and challenging themselves by solving problems.
WHAT DOES “HOUSE FOR CHILDREN” MEAN?
Chia Seed has roots in Los Angeles going back almost four years.
Each campus has the feel of a real “house for children” — a central concept of Montessori education. Everything is scaled down for children so that they can learn with confidence in a world made specifically for them.
This thoughtful curation extends to all tools and materials. They are specifically set up to be within reach of students and are clean, attractive, and complete. Anything that doesn’t “make sense” in this way — say, scissors that don’t cut well — is excluded.
These choices matter because they help prepare the environment for learning. Children can then focus on each new challenge in a supportive and harmonious setting. Our buildings are esthetically pleasing and filled with natural materials. Mornings are also filled with the making of soups and salads, as well as the fabulous smell of baking bread. The snacks and meals that the children help prepare are meant to be shared and enjoyed.
In this way, every facet of this environment connects our students sensorially to learning and exploration.
The Montessori methodology is powerful and all-encompassing. The children walk away daily with new independence and intellectual curiosity.
WHAT ARE THE KEY LEARNING AREAS AT CHIA SEED?
If you are thinking about Montessori education for your child, you may have already heard about some of our key learning areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, Science, Art, and Music.
The practical life area is an important place to start because it makes connections between the school setting and activities students have already seen at home. They’ve seen people sweeping, mopping, setting the table, and so on. Although each family and each culture of origin has a slightly different routine, we take this familiarity with everyday household tasks and connect it to early learning in a concrete way that involves all the senses.
For example, we like to bake a lot. When we bake in the morning, our students hear grains being transferred from one container to another, they hear water running. They also practice controlling their movements – such as using a spoon to transfer ingredients and moving water from one container to another. When they do these things for the first time they are fascinated – so much that they want to do them over and over. That excitement is in turn carried from school back to your home, which allows families to participate in everyday tasks as a team.
In the sensory area, all objects are measured – such as bars that range from 1 centimeter to 10 centimeters long. Only one variable or quality changes at a time, so very young children can come to understand the difference in length visually. The items are also calibrated so that the weight changes with size.
Even with things that can’t be quantified, such as smell, the other variables are controlled to allow an investigation of a particular quality. Teachers might prepare a selection of five different spices in a set of jars. The jars are all the same, but the scent in each one is different. In each variation of this approach, the aim is to help kids focus their attention on one given purpose and try to match the smells from jar to jar. This level of concentration is essential as children move from job to job until they achieve a sense of mastery.
The language area offers children various ways to acquire vocabulary — sound recognition, exposure to books, and practice in forming words with sandpaper letters. As a result, the kids are able to achieve mastery over time, and reading and writing come together in a natural and sequential way.
The mathematics area is concrete: we practice counting, tracing numbers, recognition of numbers, and associating numbers with quantity. Math is not memorized but experienced sensorially, in a way that becomes easy for our students to understand. The child combines 3 red beads with 5 blue beads and together they create 8. Mathematics in a Montessori setting is visualizing how addition and subtraction work.
WHY DO WE VALUE THE ARTS?
The arts program is an important part of our curriculum. In the music class, we teach the children violin, music fundamentals, and music appreciation. They learn how to read notes, sound out sounds, and play instruments. For example, most kids can explain the difference between piano and forte, staccato and legato, and so on.
Our enrichment program includes a variety of different activities. We offer STEAM, dance/movement, arts, and music, as well as Chinese. Exposing kids to a diverse set of programs enriches their curiosity, provides additional context for their daily activities, allows them to explore, and promotes self-confidence. We believe that kids will learn if exposed to the opportunity — what we do is curate the learning process as an all-encompassing experience.