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Navigating Early Education: Choosing Between Montessori and Play-Based Learning

August 31, 2023
By Fremont Christian School

When looking for the perfect educational fit for their child, many parents prefer a Montessori school. What many don’t realize, however, is that play-based learning can fulfill many of the same goals. Here’s how play-based learning can align with Montessori values while offering a different perspective on your child's growth.

Montessori Values and Play-Based Learning

These are just a few of the more important ways that the two learning methods are similar. 

Fostering Independence. Montessori education is renowned for nurturing independence through self-directed activities. Play-based learning similarly encourages independence by allowing children to explore and make choices based on their interests.

Individualized Learning. Montessori schools focus on tailoring education to each child's unique pace and preferences. 
Play-based education inherently adapts to individual learning styles, ensuring that children engage with activities that resonate with them personally.

Hands-On Exploration. Montessori classrooms offer specialized materials to engage children in hands-on learning experiences. 
Play-based learning is grounded in tactile, hands-on exploration, providing a variety of materials and activities that stimulate creativity and critical thinking.

Joyful Learning. Montessori emphasizes that children learn best when they are genuinely engaged and joyful in their exploration. 
Play-based education thrives on creating an environment where learning is synonymous with enjoyment, fostering a lifelong love for learning.

Mixed-Age Interactions. Montessori classrooms often group children of different ages, allowing younger ones to learn from older peers. 
Play-based settings naturally facilitate mixed-age interactions, especially during outdoor play, enabling younger children to learn from their older playmates and develop important social skills.

Choosing Play-Based for Montessori Goals

So, why might you consider a play-based school even if you're initially drawn to Montessori education?

Holistic Growth. Just like Montessori, play-based learning promotes holistic development, nurturing cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth through imaginative play.

Flexibility in Exploration. Play-based classrooms offer the flexibility to explore a wide range of interests and activities, allowing your child to discover and develop passions organically.

Natural Learning Rhythm. In a play-based environment, children engage with learning at their own pace, aligning with Montessori's goal of individualized education.

Nurturing Self-Motivation. Play-based learning encourages intrinsic motivation, as children actively engage in activities that pique their curiosity and enthusiasm.

When considering the educational journey for your child, it's essential to weigh your priorities and values against the options available. While Montessori education boasts its unique strengths, it's worth recognizing that many of those same goals can be achieved through a play-based approach. As you explore the possibilities, remember that the right choice for your child ultimately depends on their unique personality, learning style, and your educational aspirations. Whether Montessori or play-based, the goal remains the same: to provide your child with a solid foundation for future success and a lifelong love for learning.

Nurturing Young Minds: Fremont Christian School's Unique Blend of Play-Based Academic Education

August 15, 2023
By Fremont Christian School

As a parent of a toddler or preschooler, you've probably encountered the ongoing debate between play-based and academic education. It's like choosing between letting your child explore freely and preparing them for structured learning. But what if there were a way to have the best of both worlds?

Play-Based Education: The Heart of Fremont Christian School

At Fremont Christian School, we believe in the power of play-based education for our toddlers and preschoolers. Imagine a classroom where children's laughter fills the air as they engage in imaginative play, hands-on activities, and creative exploration. Here, play is more than just fun; it's the foundation of learning. We've discovered that through play, pre-elementary children develop essential skills that set them up for a lifetime of success:

  1. Holistic Growth. Our play-based approach nurtures every aspect of your child's development — cognitive, social, emotional, and physical. Through play, they become creative thinkers, problem solvers, and confident individuals.
  2. Intrinsic Motivation. When children are having a blast while learning, their motivation comes from within. They eagerly explore, ask questions, and discover, building a lifelong love for learning.
  3. Social Superstars. Play-based education at Fremont Christian School promotes teamwork, communication, and conflict resolution. Your child learns to interact, cooperate, and form meaningful friendships.
  4. Stress-Free Learning. Our approach recognizes that children learn at their own pace. By emphasizing play, we ensure that the educational journey is filled with joy, not stress.

Academic Excellence: Building Strong Foundations

While play is at the heart of the approach on our Early Education campus, academic excellence is also a cornerstone of Fremont Christian School. We understand the importance of preparing your child for academic challenges ahead. Through our unique blend of play-based and academic education, we offer:

  1. Structured Learning. Our academic curriculum is thoughtfully designed to introduce foundational concepts in a structured manner. This provides a clear path for your child's educational journey.
  2. Early Skill Development. At Fremont Christian School, academic learning starts early, giving your child a head start in reading, writing, math, and more. This foundation lays the groundwork for future success.
  3. Confidence Through Achievement. Our academic focus helps students excel in assessments and tests. This achievement boosts their confidence and prepares them for future educational milestones.

The Fremont Christian School Difference: Play-Based Academic Education

What sets Fremont Christian School apart is our commitment to an integrated approach that combines play-based learning with academic excellence. It's a strategy that acknowledges the importance of nurturing your child's natural curiosity while equipping them with the skills they need for school and beyond.

  1. Cultivating Flexible Thinkers. Our unique blend of play and academics fosters cognitive flexibility. Your child becomes adept at adapting their skills to various situations, setting them up for success in an ever-changing world.
  2. Learning with Depth. By weaving play into academic concepts, we provide your child with a deeper understanding. Learning about science through hands-on experiments or history through role play makes education come alive.
  3. Tailored Learning. At Fremont Christian School, we recognize that each child is unique. Our approach allows teachers to tailor instruction to your child's individual learning style and pace.
  4. A Future-Ready Education. Our students graduate with not only strong academic skills but also the ability to think critically, work collaboratively, and approach challenges with creativity.

Choosing the right education for your child is a significant decision. At Fremont Christian School, we offer a balanced approach that marries the benefits of play-based education with the foundations of academic excellence. With us, your child doesn't have to choose between play and learning — they get to experience the joy of both. Discover how our unique blend of play-based academic education can unlock your child's full potential and set them on a path to a bright future.

Visit FCS
 

International Students Enrich Our Campus

January 24, 2023
By Fremont Christian School

Almost as far back as its founding in 1968, Fremont Christian has welcomed international students into its classrooms. Although much has changed over the years, our school’s commitment to hosting students from abroad continues to enhance the educational experience for every member of our student body.

FCS’s international program allows our locally based students to learn firsthand about other cultures, which both enriches their curriculum and provides the opportunity to expand their worldview. In return, international students learn about our culture while improving their English skills and receiving a quality education.

For the 2022-2023 school year, FCS is hosting 13 international students, who hail from such diverse countries as China, Hong Kong, Italy, Myanmar, and Nepal. These students have the options of taking part in a homestay, as do Alex, Junlin, and Ryan with Head of School Dr. Tricia Meyer, or to reside with their own families nearby. FCS has hosted 196 international students over the last ten years.

“I like to teach local students to dive into a different culture and compare and contrast the differences between cultures,” says Ms. Frances Lin, who teaches English language development at FCS. “In my special J-Term class, conversational Chinese, not only do we learn daily conversation that will lead to our field trip to a Chinese restaurant where we can practice ordering, we also discuss the sweetness and temperature of food that play an important role in human longevity.”

Our international students feel a strong connection to FCS, staying with us an average 3.5 years, the majority of their high school career. Although much of this is due to the high level of education they are receiving, the bonds of friendship they form also play a decisive role.

“I thought that no one was going to talk to me because of my English language skills,” says Jerry Yang, a 9th grader from China, about his arrival at FCS. “But everyone is really nice and also patient.” He goes on to say how the FCS curriculum has exposed him to new subject matters, causing him to rethink his future plans. “FCS has built in me a lot of interest in arts and music. I used to think I would become a doctor or a soldier one day, to help others. But now I want to study the arts.”

Cultural exchange programs also have the power to break down stereotypes — on both sides. “A really big misconception I had about American schools mostly came from movies that depicted high school as just a place with long hallways and bullies shoving people into lockers,” says Suwon Htut, an 11th grader from Yangon, Myanmar. “My perspective has changed entirely. I now see American schools as being quite the opposite. FCS especially has a warm, welcoming staff and student population. I was really surprised at how friendly each and every single person I’ve ever talked to has been since I arrived.”

Ms. Lin goes out of her way to make international students feel at home. “During Lunar New Year, I give away treats and money red couplets with blessings from the Bible,” she says. “Every student likes the gifts, and our international students, who are thousands of miles away from their families, feel at home and loved during those special occasions. I teach all students the true meaning of Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter, so they all learn to feel the joy, love, and hope these occasions bring to them.” 

"We have a tiny home (1000 square feet!), but we have hosted international students since our son was in seventh grade,” says Dr. Meyer. Even with her son now away at college, she and her husband continue to host international students. “It is such a privilege to provide a second family to these young people. Our lives are enriched with an exchange of ideas and experiences born out of two very different cultural systems. We have even traveled to China, which gave us a special opportunity to experience our students’ culture.”

Dr. Meyer says she treasures her family’s close friendship with the Xu family, whose son they hosted for four years. The Xus’ son sang in choir and played soccer with Dr. Meyer’s son, Jake. The Meyers even traveled to China, where they spent time with the Xus visiting historic sites and being welcomed into their home. “We connected over our love for our children and our love for each other's children,” Dr. Meyer says. “Even several years after graduation, we are all in touch regularly. This is a lifetime connection."

If you are interested in hosting an international student, apply now to be a homestay family. 
 

Host an International Student

Highlights From the First Half of the School Year (2021-2022)

January 19, 2022
By Fremont Christian School

As we kick off 2022, FCS wanted to share some of the academic, athletic, and extracurricular highlights from the first half of the school year.

Academics

Fremont Christian School 2021 Year-End MAP ScoresMAP Scores: The majority (70-77%) of our elementary and secondary students scored above the 2020 national normative data on the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test. This means that our FCS students are performing at or above pre-pandemic levels –– even after learning from home for the majority of 2020 and even part of 2021.

We are heartened to see this level of achievement in our students, due largely in part to our dedicated teachers and supportive parents, who sought to make the “new normal” as conducive to learning as possible.

Student Satisfaction. The Student Satisfaction Survey, facilitated by Charter Oaks Research organization, showed that 75% of our secondary students rated FCS as a “very friendly” atmosphere, the highest rating in that category. That is a much higher percentage than Charter Oaks typically sees from other schools, as normally even a score of 50% is considered very good!

Student Participation. We want to celebrate that our students take advantage of the many “big school” opportunities at FCS: 90% are involved in performing arts and/or athletics. Their participation builds community, character, and skills that will transfer to college and career!

Athletics

FCS Warriors Volleyball Fall 2021Girls’ Varsity Volleyball. Our team went undefeated the entire season and won both the Bay Counties League (BCL) Tournament and B.C.L. League Championship, with a record of 14-0. The Warriors also claimed the #1 seed in the California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section Playoffs (CIF NCS). And, for the first time in school history, the volleyball team hosted a NorCal playoff game. Way to go, Warriors!

Boys’ Varsity Soccer. The team ended an incredible season with a 13-7-1 record and a second-place finish in our BCL League. They also qualified for the NCS Division 3 playoffs, surging all the way to the NCS championship game, where unfortunately they lost 1-0 in an epic battle against Valley Christian.

Additionally, the team earned the North Coast Section (NCS) Scholastic Championship Team Award for fall 2021. This award is presented to the top three NCS varsity teams in each division or classification in each sport with the highest composite GPA of 3.0 or above. Recognizing that there are 179 schools in the NCS, this is indeed an outstanding achievement.

Girls’ Junior High Softball. We finished 6-4 and qualified for the league playoff tournament. We are so proud of our girls, many of whom had not played prior to this season. With each game, they improved tremendously and fought hard — and with heart.

Boys’ Junior High Baseball. Our 7-3 record helped propel us all the way to the year-end championship tournament, where our team showed tremendous fortitude to finish third.

Both JH softball and baseball showed enormous growth throughout the season and proved to have resilient mindsets. We are super excited to see what the future holds for our junior high sports program.

School & Community Events

See You at the Pole (Sep. 22). Our Warrior students took part in this global event, in which participants meet at flagpoles to pray for their school. It is estimated more than 1,000,000 students participate yearly. More Info

Annual Warrior Family 5k (Oct. 9). Now in its sixth year, this new FCS tradition saw 228 participants, with third-grade teacher Timothy Voogd outracing all his fellow faculty members and placing second overall.

Scholastic Book Fair: Dive Into Reading! (Nov. 2-5). FCS had more than $5,000 in sales and earned $2,500 in Scholastic credit to purchase books for each elementary teacher's classroom library and for the school library. Thank you for your participation!

Secondary Choral and Instrumental Concert, Hope & Praise (Nov. 12). Pastor Tim Inman opened the concert, presented by the Fine Arts Department. Visit our YouTube channel for the full concert and a QR code to the concert program. Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss more great FCS performances! Watch Concert

Elementary Christmas Concert (Dec. 3). They may be young, but our elementary students feel the music in their hearts, which you can see in the YouTube video. Watch Concert

Students in Tanzania wearing clothes donated by Fremont Christian SchoolPangolin Soccer Project. Secondary history teacher and soccer coach Nick Liston leads the ongoing initiative to provide gently used FCS uniforms and curriculum to those in need in Tanzania. This year, we sent 35 boxes of needed goods. 

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