“ The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.” —Maria Montessori
Dr. Montessori observed that children ages three through six are completing the first plane of development. This is an age of concrete learning where children absorb everything in their environment and learn best by engaging in purposeful work with real materials. Our Early Childhood Community guides create child-centric, organized, and aesthetically pleasing environments that foster independence and instill a love of learning. Because children are encouraged to work independently, they build a strong sense of themselves and their enormous capabilities.
At any point during our work time, you will find children peacefully working individually or in small groups, assisting other students, serving themselves snack, quietly observing, or being shown a new lesson. Throughout the day, both individual and small group lessons are presented. The guide carefully observes each child and introduces him or her to new material based on interest and developmental readiness. The older children set a positive example and serve as mentors for the younger children.
Practical life lessons give children the opportunity to practice skills used in everyday life. The children use real tools to complete purposeful tasks for the benefit of themselves, the environment, and the community. Work in this area may include using tools, cleaning spills, preparing food, polishing objects, caring for plants and animals, sewing, scrubbing, cloth washing, and flower arranging. In addition to providing purposeful work with a clear result, these activities are crucial for developing concentration, focus, order, and gross and fine motor control. These foundational skills serve students not only in their academic lives but also in their journey to responsible adulthood.
Sensorial work offers the opportunity to refine each of the five senses. These lessons are designed to isolate one variable and provide a control of error so that children can hone their sensory skills in a concrete way that does not require correction by a teacher. Sensorial work sets the foundation for future math, geometry, and language success.
Math in a Montessori Early Childhood classroom is distinctive in the way it takes abstract concepts and introduces them in a concrete and understandable way. Children use hands-on materials that explore quantity, numeration, the decimal system, math operations with numerals of up to four digits, and fractions.
Language lessons focus on oral language development, phonological awareness, reading, writing, grammar, and cursive handwriting. These skills are developed through the use of various presentations allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express and understand their emerging language. By the end of the third year, a child may be able to read fluently, write words or phrases in cursive, understand basic grammar concepts, and express thoughts through creative writing and illustrations.
Cultural activities introduce the Early Childhood Community to physical science, biology, physiology, history; and cultural, political, and physical geography. A strong emphasis is placed on cultural and environmental awareness. Promoting peaceful interaction and conflict resolution is central to the functioning of our communities. Music, Art, and Spanish are integrated into the daily life of the classroom. We also have dynamic, experienced resource teachers who provide weekly classes in these three areas as well.