Children 3 - 6 years
The goal of the early childhood environment is to cultivate—and be a catalyst to—a child’s own natural desire to learn. We encourage children to experience choice and decision making, which empower them with intrinsic motivation and self-discipline, and strengthen their ability to think and act for themselves. We guide each child “to do it by myself,” thus satiating the child’s basic need for independence. Additionally, by helping children believe that they are capable, competent, and confident, we help create positive attitudes toward learning that last a lifetime.
Primary children learn by doing. The concrete materials in the classroom allow the children explore the world through their senses, through touch and motion, and by observing and engaging with others. One main feature of Montessori education is its hands-on approach to learning. Students work with specially designed materials, manipulating and investigating until they master the lesson inside. Teachers guide students through the curriculum as children are ready for each new challenge, introducing lessons and then letting children practice what they have learned. As children grow, the classroom materials grow with them in the sense that older children use the materials to explore curriculum in new and deeper ways. Each child progresses at his or her own individually appropriate pace, allowing each to be appropriately challenged and to become proficient in each area according to individual development and needs.
The multi-age Primary classes help children develop a sense of community and supports social development. Children who are given the freedom to interact with children of different ages build a sense of themselves and a sense of confidence that provides a foundation for them which will help them move through life with the belief that they can try new things, and not be afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone. Children 5 years or older also benefit from our Kindergarten Enrichment program included as part of the curriculum.
Practical Life activities are central to the Montessori classroom and prepare the child for all other areas. Practical Life exercises give children the opportunity to refine their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, hand strength, balance, concentration and ability to do things for themselves. Through the repetition of Practical Life activities, children develop practical skills that will serve them all their lives. Some of the Primary Practical Life exercises include Pouring, Lacing, Scooping, Flower Arranging, Food Preparation and Serving, and Table Washing.
Our sensorial awareness exercises provide purposeful movement and aid in muscular coordination. Children become aware of details by learning to finely discriminate among textures, colors, and dimensions. They learn one-to-one correspondence in matching/sorting and grading/discerning differences tasks, both necessary cognitive preparations. Intelligence is built up as the child learns to distinguish, categorize, and relate new information to what s/he already knows. Children move through the structured materials independently, challenging themselves and gaining confidence.
The language development area is designed to enrich a child’s vocabulary and conversation and to establish a personal interest in reading and reading comprehension. Children working with everyday living and sensorial foundation exercises develop many reading readiness skills. As the child shows an interest and a comprehension of activities preparatory to written language, the teacher provides opportunities to explore letter sounds and formation. The unique Montessori approach to language development is a carefully respectful, individualized response to each child’s natural desire to absorb language and communicate.
The purpose of the mathematics area is to follow the child’s basic need to seek order and logic in all things. Children count with enthusiasm and that enjoyment is channeled to a concrete understanding of math facts and concepts. Later, the school age child can make abstractions and truly understand the theoretic rules of math. Our math materials are firmly based in process, not product. The child grasps (literally and figuratively) a personal mathematical understanding through extensive use of manipulatives—objects that may be held and felt, personalized, and understood.
The purpose of the cultural lessons is to introduce the child to aspects of the world beyond himself and to broaden his life experience. Geography, history, science, art and music are presented to the child through various materials, projects, and experiences. The activities in each of these areas allow the child to learn about people, places, traditions and ideas of the world, to gain an understanding about the interconnectedness of the peoples of the world and to inspire him or her to have a positive effect upon the world.