Ten Fabulous Fall Picture Books

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Between falling leaves and ripening pumpkins, what’s not to love about autumn? Visit your local library or click the links below to find these fabulous fall picture books.

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

This simple book by Ehlert has gorgeous illustrations and informational text. Perfect for younger children, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf details the life of a tree.

The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons

Gibbons is known for creating books that draw children in with beautiful illustrations and clear, factual information. The Pumpkin Book does not disappoint! It covers such information as types of pumpkins; the process of planting, growing, and harvesting pumpkins; the parts of a pumpkin seed; the history of this amazing squash; and so much more.

The Reasons for Seasons by Gail Gibbons

Once again Gibbons delivers a perfect book. She uses clear, bright diagrams and short but accurate paragraphs to explain why certain regions of the earth experience four seasons.

Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer

“Yellow time comes before white time. Every time.” Stringer uses words and images alike to paint a picture of the final days of fall. The variety of color among the leaves has gone, along with many of the animals. The ones that are left are so busy preparing for winter that they don’t notice the beautiful yellow that remains. That is, except for the crows.

Apple Cider Making Days by Ann Purmell, illustrated by Joanne Friar

This tale follows two children as they pick apples for making cider on the family farm. Readers learn about the cider-making process in this charming and realistic story.

Autumn is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray

Young children will enjoy chiming in with “Autumn is here!” as each page is turned. Between exclamations, Gray inserts classic hallmarks of the season, such as fallen acorns and the busy work of squirrels. The whimsical watercolor paintings that accompany the text are a perfect fit.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak

In this charming book a young girl takes a walk through her town and nearby woods on a crisp fall day. She greets the plants and creatures she passes; they return her greeting and explain the changes they are undergoing now that it's autumn.

Autumnblings by Douglas Florian

Florian’s poetry is silly, surprising, and educational. In Autumnblings, which is all about fall, he covers a wide range of topics from apple picking to trick-or-treating to baseball.

Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow

This book is a unique two-in-one—story and botany study. The story takes readers on a walk through the woods with a grandmother and her grandchildren. And, complementing the Montessori botany work beautifully, on each page a different tree is introduced along with a detailed picture displaying the shape of the tree’s leaves.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Few things delight children in quite the same way as squirrels. They always seem to be having fun scampering around or energetically preparing for winter. This book lets children in on all the action as it describes the many tasks of this familiar neighborhood mammal.

We hope you enjoy our fall book suggestions. Let us know if you have any other fall favorites, and happy reading!

The 6 Reasons Montessori Will Work for Your Child

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Perhaps you have a friend with a child in a Montessori program. Maybe you have heard about Montessori at a local playgroup. Or maybe you just stumbled across it online.

It all sounds great in theory, doesn’t it? An environment that fosters a deep love for learning; teachers trained to meet the needs of each individual child; a classroom community that provides an opportunity for all children to develop independence.

But, in the back of your head, a nagging question remains: “Will Montessori really work for my child?”

You Are Not Alone

It’s a common question that most parents ask when researching Montessori education. The reality is that most of us never had an opportunity to attend an authentic Montessori program when we were young. Many of the experiences in a Montessori classroom are the complete opposite our own experiences in school. So, it’s completely understandable to question the efficacy of something so new for your own child!

Enrolling my daughter in a Montessori program was one of the best decisions I have made as a parent. In addition to my daughter, Montessori education has shaped the lives of thousands of children. And there are an infinite number of reasons why Montessori will work for your child. Let’s talk about 6 significant reasons why your child will thrive in a quality Montessori program:

1. Your Child Will Learn by Doing: Your child will be exposed to hundreds of specially designed materials that invite hands-on exploration. She will choose what she wants to explore, creating robust neural pathways that contribute to the construction of a strong brain.

2. Your Child Will Learn from and Teach Others: Have you ever heard the expression “The best way to learn something is to teach it?” This happens every day in Montessori classrooms. Children are grouped in three-year age spans, so that children ages 2.5 to 6 are all in the same class.

Younger children observe older children working with, for example, “Bead Bar Multiplication.” They look up to and admire these older children who are doing all these incredible things: they want to emulate them and are motivated to learn to be just like them.

3. The Curriculum Adapts to Your Child: Most conventional early childhood programs assume that all children, born within a year of each other, are capable of learning and doing the same thing at the same time. As we all know, that simply isn’t true! Many bright children are bored, and others, who need more time to learn, are left behind when we teach to the whole class.

We recognize that your child has his own unique timetable for development and will learn different parts of the curriculum when he is ready. We teach to the individual needs of your child, not to the entire class or to a group of children.

4. Beautiful Classrooms Inspire Your Child to Learn: Our Acton Montessori classroom is beautiful and inviting. Materials are laid out on low, open shelves and they call out to your child: “Come touch me! Come explore!” From the shelves to the tables and chairs to the beginning materials to the advanced materials. . . all are miniaturized and made to fit perfectly into the hands of your young child. Everything supports your child’s developing independence and helps him gain confidence in himself and his abilities.

5. The Teacher Really Knows Your Child: “Follow the child” is the mantra of all well-trained Montessori teachers. They are trained to observe and to support each individual child. They take the time to get to know your child’s strengths, challenges, and interests. They plan lessons for your child based on their observations of him.

Your child will be a member of the same classroom community for three years, which affords the teacher the opportunity to know him deeply, intimately, and well. He will feel seen, heard, and appreciated for who he is.

6. Your Child Will Be in Good Company: Many of the most successful and creative people in our modern society are former Montessori students:

  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin (cofounders of Google)
  • Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon)
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
  • Sean “P. Diddy” Combs
  • Prince William and Prince Harry
  • Berry Brazelton (pediatrician and author)
  • Julia Child
  • William Wright (creator of “The Sims”)
  • Anne Hathaway
  • Katherine Graham (first female publisher of a major American newspaper)
  • Beyoncé Knowles
  • Peter Drucker (business guru and lecturer)
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nobel Prize-winning novelist)

How Research Is Proving that Montessori Works

Still need proof? How about some hard data.

Recent research provides irrefutable evidence that the Montessori method of education is powerfully effective in educating young children.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin and published in the prestigious journal, Science, in September 2006 found that Montessori students outperform peers attending traditional public schools. This and other studies show that Montessori children form clear concepts from using the hands-on manipulative materials they find in their classrooms.

When children are developmentally ready and when they get to choose materials that match their individual timetable of development, their learning takes off! They become enthusiastic, confident, joyful learners!

You Have to See It to Believe It

Your child deserves the very best! Enrolling your child in a Montessori preschool gives her the opportunity to be seen as a unique individual; she will receive a tailor-made education designed especially for her.

Want to know more? We'd love to give you a tour of Acton Montessori. Schedule a tour today. 

Elements of Acton: Self-Directed Learning

  • Mastery learning
  • Self-directed learning
  • Real-world projects
  • Socratic discussions
  • Identifying strengths and passions

Self-Directed Learning: What It Is

Self-directed learning puts students in charge of their own learning process. In a self-directed learning environment students are responsible for setting learning goals, monitoring progress, and evaluating their work.

How We Use Self-Directed Learning at Acton

Students at Acton Elementary learn how to set daily, weekly, and session learning goals, which they monitor and report on. Once they become adept at goal setting and tracking, they are able to choose what to work on during core skills (math, reading, writing) time. For example, one Acton student could choose to work only on math for three weeks before switching to writing, while another might prefer to spend time on math, reading, and writing each day. However a student chooses to divide his/her work, all students monitor their progress to ensure they are balancing the core skills and challenging themselves.

More on Self-Directed Learning

Here are some helpful resources on self-directed learning:

Self-Directed Learning
A summary of self-directed learning, including some of the benefits, such as fostering students who are “motivated and persistent, independent, self-disciplined, self-confident and goal-oriented.”

20 Tips to Promote a Self-Directed Classroom Culture
This list of tips for supporting self-directed learners includes making it safe to fail, fostering peer support, and removing limitations.

Sparking Children's Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Acton Children's Business Fair

The third annual Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC took place May 12. This year’s business fair buzzed with the activity of 125 young entrepreneurs delighting over 3,300 customers with everything from tooth fairy monsters to Star-Wars-themed noodles, hand-dyed jump ropes, race car crayons, and more.

The Washington Post featured the business fair on the front page of its Sunday metro section under the headline "At a D.C. business fair, kids test their entrepreneurial skills — and cash in." We love how the article captures the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of the young business owners!

The Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC is now the largest children’s business fair in the country, outside the original in Austin.

A one-day showcase of the power of entrepreneurship for even the youngest children, the Acton Children’s Business Fair invites children ages 6 to 14 to create a business, sell to real customers, and keep the profits. We provide tents and tables. It’s that simple. Along the way, children learn about entrepreneurship and, more importantly, about themselves and what they are capable of.