The Montessori Preschool Program is designed to facilitate the total developmental needs of the child: physical, intellectual, social and spiritual. This is done through appropriate activities that are sequential, consistent and varied. As the child’s interests unfold and expand, Montessori allows the child the freedom to select individual activities that correspond to his own periods of interest and readiness to progress at his own pace. A child who acquires the basic skills of reading and arithmetic in this natural way has the advantage of beginning his education without drudgery, boredom or discouragement.
Full Time Program (7:30 am – 6:00 pm)
5 days – Monday through Friday
3 days – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
2 days – Tuesday and Thursday
“After the age of 3, the child is able to acquire a great number of concepts through his own efforts in exploring his surroundings. In this period, he lays hold of things through his own activity and assimilates them into his mind.”
The Montessori Method views the growth period from birth to six years as one of individual personal development through movement and the use of the senses. During that time, the child goes through various sensitive period where children have an intense fascination to learn a skill, e.g. counting, putting things in order and reading.
What is Montessori?
Montessori is a philosophy and approach to educating children based on the research and experiences of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952). It arose essentially from Dr. Montessori’s discovery of what she referred to as “the child’s true normal nature”, in 1907 which happened in the process of her experimental observation of young children given freedom in an environment prepared with materials designed for this self-directed learning activity. The materials itself aims to duplicate this experimental observation of children to bring about, sustain and support their true natural way of being.
Montessori is a method of seeing children as they really are and of creating environments which foster the fulfillment of their highest potential – spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual.
The curriculum of preschool is implemented through five main areas:
Practical life – The activities in this area are essential to the direct development of order, coordination, concentration and independence. The activities in the practical life also include: grace and courtesy, care of self, care of the environment.
Sensorial – These manipulative materials help the child to become aware of abstractions and refine the senses. Works with color, shapes, sounds, length, width, height and texture, visual, auditory, gustatory and olfactory needs of the child. Each activity isolates the one quality that the child is becoming aware of, which in turn eliminates confusions.
Mathematics – In the mathematics area, children develop the concept of quantity and symbol through the use of concrete manipulative materials that are sequential. The child learns the numbers from 1 – 10 concretely, using counting rods and sandpaper numerals. After the child has learned their numbers to ten, other materials are introduced to learn the teens and tens. From these children learn the decimal system, eventually learning all 4 operations.
Language – Language begins with pre-reading skills which lead to more advanced work including vocabulary development, phonics, structural analysis and the mechanics of writing with an emphasis on reading for pleasure and writing as a form of personal expression. Many other materials help the child in preparation for writing.
Cultural Studies – The cultural area includes materials and activities in History (a sense of time including calendar/time lines), Geography (continents, landforms), Science (Physical science/geology and astronomy) and Biological (Biology and Zoology).
Everything in the classroom is learned through experience. The child is most eager to learn at a young age when everything is new and fresh. Children work at their own pace and do activities when they are ready for them. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem as if your child is learning as much as another child. They absorb everything and will use what they know when the time comes.
The programs for children from three to six years involve a series of sequential, manipulative and sensorial activities that ultimately bridge the gap between concrete and abstract learning. Children work at tasks that help master motor skills and independence in their daily living. Sensorial exercises stimulate perceptions vital to growing minds, such as identifying and grading of shades of color, shapes, weights and smells, as children work with intriguing cylinders, geometric solids and specially designed Montessori materials. As the child’s interest grows, he is introduced to sequentially prepared lessons, individually or in a group.
The multi-age groupings of children aged three to six provide a family-like group where learning can take place naturally in an atmosphere of co-operation rather than a competitive environment. More experienced children share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning. This leader role provides the older children with the opportunity to experience positive leadership and develop a strong sense of responsibility and self-worth. Younger children are truly assisted by older children and inspired by their example. Being exposed to more advanced academic work of the older children, younger children experience “indirect lessons” and absorb information not yet presented to them. This peer group learning, intrinsic to Montessori, means there are often more conversation and language experiences than the conventional early education settings. Social growth abounds as the children interact with each other on a daily basis while learning.
“Teach by teaching not by correcting”. There are no papers turned back with red marks and corrections. Instead, the child’s effort and work is respected as it is. The teacher through extensive observation and record keeping plans individual projects to enable each child to learn what he needs in order to improve.