The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.
-Dr. Maria Montessori
To assist the child in their natural development our programs offer well-maintained, orderly “prepared environments” which invite a child to move and investigate. The child has free choice in the selection and length of tasks, which are structured for independent and successful activity. The Montessori materials are designed to isolate a single new concept to be grasped by the child and are self-correcting. They also follow a sequential progression permitting the child to master one task and then proceed to a further challenge.
The curriculum is divided into the following areas:
Social Emotional Development:
The ultimate goals for each child are:
- Demonstrates self-control
- Respect for oneself, the classroom and others
- An interest in learning
- Communicate needs and feelings appropriately
The practical life area is the foundation of the Montessori philosophy. The activities in this area not only assist the child in the development of a long list of practical life skills, but they also help the child lengthen concentration and focus, increase hand-eye coordination, increase socialization skills, gain a sense of personal independence, develop logical thought, be a member of the classroom community, and gain a sense of order. The precise movements of the practical life materials challenge the child to concentrate, work at his/her own pace uninterrupted, and complete a full work-cycle which results in the feelings of satisfaction and self-confidence. Practical life activities are indirectly preparing children for later exercises in reading and writing.
Categories of practical life:
- Care of Oneself:dressing/undressing, hand washing, hygiene, food preparation, sewing
- Care of the Indoor/Outdoor Environment:washing a table and dishes, setting a table, carrying a chair, folding napkins, dusting, polishing, flower arranging, folding laundry, raking, sweeping
- Grace and Courtesy:walking and moving in the classroom, greeting another person, learning how to ask for help, learning how to work with others, social interactions, problem solving, table manners, and being part of the classroom community
- Control of Movement:walking the line and making silence
The sensory curriculum engages a child’s natural tendency to explore the physical world around him through the involvement of senses. The sensorial materials are hands-on activities that allow the child to understand concepts in concrete ways. These materials help children notice differences, make observations, compare concrete objects, and to understand abstract ideas.
Sensorial activities focus on:
- Visual discriminations of dimension through form and color, through block manipulatives, geometric shapes, and color tablets
- Tactile discriminations of texture, temperature, and weight through sorting, matching, and measuring
- Auditory discrimination of volume and pitch
- Tasting activities such as food preparation and specific lessons which discriminate tastes and textures
- Smelling activities to discriminate smell
Through sensorial experiences, the child has observed and worked with the distinctions of distance, dimension, gradation, similarity, and sequence which lay the foundation for mathematical thinking. The child’s introduction to mathematics begins with concrete manipulatives that allow for hands-on exploration of a concept. The goals of the math curriculum begin with an understanding of quantity and symbol and then progress to place value and experiences with the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This leads the child to abstract mathematical ideas and relationships.
Activities include using concrete materials to understand:
- One-to-one correspondence, quantity, symbol and sequencing
- Units, tens, hundreds, and thousands
- Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
The language curriculum supports a child’s spoken, written, and reading development. Our classrooms provide an immersion for the child in language development and offer many opportunities for the development of oral and written communication skills. Muscular movement and fine motor activities are developed to aid with the preparation of writing. The child works on activities that help them distinguish the sounds which make up our language.
Spoken Language – The spoken language curriculum goals are to perfect the child’s ability to communicate and express himself appropriately. Spoken language activities include:
- Learning names of objects and classifying them
- Reciting stories, songs, and poems
- Practicing social situations
- Playing oral sound games
- Participating in sharing time
Written Language – The written language curriculum goals are to develop a child’s ability to analyze sounds, recall their associated symbols, and formulate words. Written language activities include:
- Preparing the hand for writing
- Working with consonant and vowel sounds and then progressing to blends and digraphs
- Participating in written sounds games
- Constructing words, phrases, sentences, and stories
Reading – The goals of the reading curriculum are to break down the symbols into sounds and find meaning and context in words, sentences, and stories. Reading activities include:
- Read alouds
- Sandpaper letters
- Moveable alphabet
- Initial and ending sound works
- Word building
- Sight word activities
- Word study
- Phonetic lessons
- Decodable texts
Our history curriculum focuses on developing an awareness and understanding of the concept of “passing time.”
- Calendar work
- Changes in Seasons
- Clock study
- Introduction to the past/present/future
- Experience of personal history via birthday celebrations
The goal of geography is to bring an awareness to the child of the physical features of the earth, as well as other cultures around the world.
- Naming and distinguishing shapes and placement of continents, countries, states, and oceans
- Making maps and books
- Study of land and water forms (such as lakes, islands, peninsulas, gulfs, straits and isthmuses) through concrete materials
- Connections with other cultures around the world are made through pictures, materials, objects, arts, foods, and plants
The goals of science are to offer concrete exploration of the physical and life sciences to further classify the child’s understanding of the world.
We believe children at this age level are developing skills critical to healthy brain development, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, memory, and understanding of non-verbal cues. All of these skills are mastered best through real and concrete learning experiences. Furthermore, the young child learns best when all senses are engaged in learning and real learning experiences are occurring. For all of these reasons, we provide children with a screen-free learning environment.
Our outdoor environment is just as important as our indoor environment. We believe learning and developing occurs in the outdoors. Children develop skills in independence, friendship building, problem solving, and collaborative learning. Children build a meaningful connection with the natural world and have hands-on experiences through outside learning.