5 Tips for Cultivating Concentration

In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to concentrate is crucial for both academic success and overall well-being. Montessori classrooms’ emphasis on concentration aligns with neuroscience findings, indicating that true brain plasticity occurs when we focus. In a world inundated with constant stimuli and digital distractions, the sanctuary of focused, uninterrupted moments becomes a precious gift we can offer our children. Here’s how you can support concentration at home:

1️⃣ Environment: Create a peaceful, distraction-free space at home. Minimize sensory stimuli to allow focused attention; consider a quiet corner or a dedicated area. Provide a designated area where various activities are easily accessible, fostering a sense of organization.

2️⃣ Respect: Understand and respect your child’s need for uninterrupted exploration. Avoid the urge to intervene, praise, or ‘fix’ their work; let them discover things for themselves. Minimize interruptions during your child’s focused activities. If interruptions are inevitable, inform your child in advance to respect the importance of their ‘work.’

3️⃣ Choice: Observe your child’s interests to guide them in extending their concentration. Provide choices related to their interests, empowering them with autonomy.

4️⃣ Modeling: Exaggerate your efforts when concentrating to set an example for your child. Encourage a serious approach to tasks by showcasing the importance of focus.

5️⃣ Repetition: Promote problem-solving and persistence through repeated engagement. After completing an activity, encourage your child to try it again or practice a similar skill with different materials.

Incorporating Montessori practices at home aligns with our school environment, promoting a deeper level of concentration in children. This skill lays the groundwork for a lifetime of continuous learning.

A Parent’s Take on Online Learning at Anthea Montessori

One month into online teaching has given us perspective on how flexibility is the name of the game. There is this term in the education world known as cognitive flexibility and this has become most relevant in these times. We are very happy to have successfully taken an experiential pedagogy online, while ensuring that the sanctity of the principles is maintained, without diluting the pedagogy or its essence. The outpouring of support from many Anthea parents via emails, phone calls and cards by your children has been humbling. This has however played a huge role to boost the morale of the teachers who have truly gone above and beyond their call of duty! Here is one such note from a Serenity parent, Ramya. This letter touched us with its empathy, and inspired us to come back stronger than ever. 😊

“Dear teachers,

As we wrapped up one month of online classes, I have been meaning to send a short note of thanks and congratulate the teachers for not only just managing through this unexpected challenge but also thriving in it. Just like any other parent, I was skeptical about how online learning will play out esp. in the context of Montessori, whether a 40-minute class per day be sufficient, how will it be different from just printing some worksheets online and making her practice. But as day after day unfolded and both of us got into groove, I have begun to realize how meticulously this has been planned putting in so much of thought.

While working with her through the material and seeing the contrast of work between the last month and this, I realized how it was chosen to introduce the concepts methodically and gradually increasing the complexity by adding in a mix of novelty and repetition. I can’t stop gloating to my friends about the hard work you have been putting day-after-day in culling topics, sharing material for the week in advance, rotating the login details, recording the sessions, observing the children, following through the pictures uploaded and enquiring about the same in the class and with us in the conf calls. All of this effort multiplied for every batch while taking care of your own homes is absolutely incredible.

Once again, my heartfelt thanks to you all for bringing some sense of normality and something to look forward to for my child in these gloomy times. Wishing all the health and happiness for you and your family.”

Takeaways from Elementary’s First Overnight Field Trip

The Elementary class’ year began with an overnight trip to Visakhapatnam. A group of 10 children comprising of 6 to 11 year olds were invited on this excursion for 4 days and 5 nights. The children were carefully chosen based on how they had responded to being away from their parents at sleepovers, how much impulse control they exhibited on a daily basis (particularly on field trips), and several other factors. The final group of 10 were children whom we felt absolutely confident taking on an extended trip!

While the location and final itinerary were chosen by the adults due to time constraints, these children weighed in on all the initial research. They decided on logistics such as transportation after comparing costs. They decided which accommodation options made economic sense, and called to check for availability. They also made follow-up calls to confirm our itinerary with experts such as heritage walk guides. Needless to say, their calls helped charm the group’s way into several discounts and freebies 🙂


As we set off on day one, there was a lot of excitement. Most of the children had never been on a local train before, let alone in a sleeper class berth. They jumped from one berth to the other, shouted across compartments, and had a lot of fun discovering how the lights switched on and off. They also commented loudly on what they would and would not eat, and banged the toilet door for fun. Needless to say, this did not go over well with the other passengers on the train. They were repeatedly reminded, collectively as well as individually, to be considerate. There wasn’t too much of an impact, perhaps because the children believed there would be no real consequences to their actions beyond some adults on the train telling them off.

However, as we told them, if they weren’t respecting our instructions in a closed safe space, there was no guarantee that they would listen to us when we were out on the road either. For the sake of their own safety, we could not take them out unless we saw signs that they could consistently follow instructions. We could not take them out until they showed us that they were capable of awareness of the people around them. For the first half day that we were in Vizag, all we did was remain indoors at the house where we were staying. We waited until the children demonstrated courtesy, and a respect for property as well as the people around them.


After this, six children who displayed this behaviour were invited to go on a cable car ride and visit Kailasagiri. They had a gala time… and they remembered to be considerate of the group! The children left behind were very surprised that their less-than-desirable behaviour had actual outcomes. When they saw that all the adults on the trip were consistently on the same page, and that there would be no wiggle room, they started to live up to our expectations too. The entire group visited Visakha museum, where they learned a lot about India’s naval history. At the end of the day, several of them mentioned it was the first time that they had been solely responsible for their own belongings (including re-packing or separating used clothes). They were clearly eager for the opportunity to demontrate their maturity 🙂


Day two began with an early morning drive to Thottlakonda, a BC-era Buddhist site. We were fortunate to be walked around by Ms. Jayashree, a heritage guide, who told us fascinating stories about the place, and Buddhist rituals. Chanting at the same spot where Buddhists had centuries ago, was goosebump-inducing. After a picnic-style breakfast, we took a long drive down to Yarada Beach. Once again, the children whom we believed could not be trusted in open spaces yet were asked to remain in the car and practice being mindful until they could join us. We were very happy to note that the children who could go to the beach still opted to stay back and coach the remaining children! There was already a strong sense of community within the group, where they wanted everyone to be able to join in. When they were ready, we had a fantastic few hours playing together in the waves. We then visited the submarine museum and aircraft museum in the city before winding up with a delicious home-cooked dinner.


We wanted to camp overnight at Arakku Valley on day three, but bus transportation had been stopped due to local tensions. We quickly formed an alternate plan and took the children to Kambalakonda, a wildlife sanctuary closeby. The adventure park there let them zipline, do a sky walk, and much more. Again, they were very empathetic to each other’s needs, and, by now, none of them were saying, “I want this,” or “Can you buy me this?” Rather, they were all aware that the group’s plan superceded any individual child’s urges, and that any decisions we made would have to be made as a group. They were also very aware of budgets, safety, and the need to thank people for their help. We drove back to our house with stops at the Ramanarayanam temple and Vijayanagaram fort nearby.


On our final day in Vizag, we visited Ms. Lata’s horseback riding school in the morning. She graciously invited the children to participate in all the work at the stables rather than merely enjoying a joyride. As they mucked out stalls and helped feed the horses, the children spent some time thinking about how animals have a lot of qualities which human beings would do well to emulate. Sitting in a circle in the mud, out in the open, they discussed the importance of treating even the smallest creature with care. We couldn’t help but marvel at how far these children had come since that first night on the train – they were now capable of not just putting up with unfamiliar experiences, but actually open to them!


We took them out for lunch to a local restaurant and ordered ragi mudde. To our delight, and the children’s surprise, quite a few wanted seconds! Those who didn’t had the will power not to remark disparagingly on what anyone else was eating, or to demand an alterative. They were all eating vegetables without complaint (one of the children said it wasn’t until this trip that he had been made to eat them!) and they even walked through Vizag’s well-known fish market later in the day without making any insensitive remarks about the smells or sights.

We wound up our trip with another visit to Visakha museum, where we spent time studying the human history display. The older children helped the younger ones read signs, or paraphrased for them. When we boarded the train back, neither us nor the children wanted to go back home! It had been a lovely excursion, with lots of learning for the group. We look forward to more adventures next January.

Birthday Celebrations at Anthea Montessori: Primary


Watching a child countdown to their birthday is a joy-filled experience: they are so excited about the milestone to come! At Anthea, we believe in celebrating the special day with some small traditions which help the child, and the class, see how far they have come since they were born.

In our Primary classrooms, the children gather in a circle, with the birthday child near the adult facilitating the birthday ceremony. A light source representing the sun is placed in the middle of the circle. The months of the year are arrayed around the ‘sun’. The birthday child is then invited to pick up a globe, and slowly circumvent the sun as the class sings the song, ‘The Earth Goes Around the Sun’. This symbolizes one year of the child’s life. The child then shares a photo of themselves at age one, and is prompted to talk about what they could do at that age. The process continues for each year of their life, as the group marvels at the growing child. The group enthusiastically states when they can see a match between the baby photos and the birthday child as they know him/her now!

The child’s family, who is invited in, often chime in with anecdotes or inputs. It is a very special experience for the birthday child when so many of the people close to him come together to celebrate his unique life journey. Since we have a strict no-candy policy at birthdays, we suggest that the child shares a fruit or vegetable with the class. They may also choose to contribute a book to the class library, with their name and date inscribed on it. It is lovely watching the birthday child take ownership for this book over subsequent years!

We invite all our parents to take note of the guidelines in the Birthdays section of the Anthea Handbook (available o nTransparentClassroom.com). We look forward to celebrating your child’s birthday in their Primary environment!

Vacations and the Montessori Child

Remember the saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” While school breaks may seem overwhelming for the adult, children savour the leisurely period of time in which they can play, rest and unhurriedly make their choices. Vacations don’t have to mean expensive trips or extravagant adventures. Breaks from school can be a great opportunity to take a breath, unwind and relax. Whether you choose to travel or not, simple time together, connecting as a family, can be rejuvenating. Here are a few of our ideas for school breaks with your child.Continue reading

Helping Your Child Return to School After the Holidays

Vacations invariably mean changes in your daily routine. Eating habits change, schedules change… and because children are still practicing skills like resilience and flexibility, they may not be ready to go back to school without a little help from the adult’s side. Here’s how you can support your child as they return to school after a vacation.

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