THE CHILDREN'S HOUSE
Our Children’s House offers both preschool and kindergarten programs for children age 33 months – 6 years that allow your child to experience the joy of learning while preserving the spontaneity, initiative, and curiosity inherent in every child. Each child is treated as an individual and allowed to develop at their own pace while being supported and encouraged to grow in the areas of independence, concentration, and self-discipline. We are proud to have a diverse group of children from various cultural backgrounds and teach each child to respect their cultural background and that of others while learning how to be a part of the society in which they live.
The Children’s House activities offer both quiet and active times throughout the day. We encourage children to choose activities which interest them, and a significant part of our day is child-initiated activity. We also have teacher-directed circle times as well as one-on-one presentations by the teacher on a daily basis.
Our classroom philosophy is that teachers, being responsible for the prepared environment, present purposeful activities at critical periods using their knowledge of each child’s developmental stages. Acting as a link between the child and the material, the teacher assists the children as they progress along the learning path from the concrete to the abstract. Children are free to choose their own work and can proceed at their own pace. The children enjoy and participate in circle time, the forum for songs, discussion of the current topic, show and tell, and other group activities.
As every parent knows, the preschool child wants to do the essential but simple tasks that we do every day. The Montessori practical life materials allow him to do just that. When a child enters the preschool at three years of age, the practical life area provides the link between home and school. In the classroom, with child-sized tools that really work, the young child is able to perform the same activities he has seen adults do; polishing, scrubbing, pouring, sweeping. The pace is unhurried, and an adult is nearby to help if needed but not to interfere.
A three-year-old is, of course more interested in the scrubbing motion of washing a table than he is in getting the table clean. The motions help him to gain gross motor control and hand-eye coordination, which will enable him to perform successfully in more precise tasks.
It is often difficult for adults to appreciate the sense of accomplishment and pride that children take in mastering practical life skills. To the adult, care of the house and body are necessary chores. The young child, however, is attracted to these activities for very different reasons. They are meaningful, creative, filled with intricate movements and achievements that hold the child’s attention. They are easily understood from start to finish; they have visible, easily imitated movements; they appeal to the child’s will; they lead to greater physical skill and perfection of movement and concentration.
The young child is attracted to the practical life exercises because these activities allow her to function independently in the adult world. After learning how to button her coat, tie her shoes, and wash her hands, she spontaneously repeats the exercises, working on mastery, free from unnecessary adult intervention. These exercises correspond to the child’s sensitive period for refinement of movement and coordination as well as her growing sense of independence. “Help me help myself” is the motto of the young child, and Montessori encourages and fosters this independence.
In the Montessori classroom, there are four distinct groups of practical life exercises:
- Care of self (i.e. buttoning, zipping, combing, tying)
- Care of environment (i.e. cleaning, sweeping, gardening, polishing)
- Grace and courtesy (i.e. the development of social relations such as greeting, serving, accepting, apologizing, thanking)
- Control of movement (i.e. balancing, “walking on the line”, playing the silence game)
SENSORIAL - EXPLORING THE WORLD
The world is color, size, dimension, shape, form, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Children live in a world of senses. In order to continue their creative task of development, children need to classify and express the impressions they have already received, Through sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell, the Montessori materials enable the child to clarify, classify and comprehend their world. The concepts of long and short, for example, are perceived in the red rods of varying lengths. Likewise, rough and smooth are experienced by touching rough sandpaper and smooth paper.
Later these lessons are repeated with the sandpaper globe, helping the child to distinguish between land (rough) and water (smooth). The child gains tools and knowledge to complete and understand his sensory exploration of the world: leaf and flower shapes, geometric polygons and solids, three-dimensional land and water forms, cutout maps, and painted globe.
Besides enabling a child to clarify and internalize such concepts as size, shape, color, taste, and sound, the sensorial materials also provide a basis for the development of other skills, such as music, mathematics, or language. Tracing a sandpaper letter ‘m’ with his finger, a child not only sounds out the symbol ‘m’ but also feels it! Later the muscles of his hand will remember the tracing motion as he writes the letter.Montessori sensorial materials make learning a natural result of the child’s desire to explore.
MATHEMATICS - FROM CONCRETE TO ABSTRACT
Preschool-aged children have naturally mathematical minds. They have the capacity to reason, to calculate, and to estimate. They are intensely conscious of quantity, counting pebbles on the beach or cookies for dessert. The concrete Montessori mathematical materials allow these sensorial explorers to begin their mathematical journey from the concrete to the abstract through manipulation, experimentation, and invention. Rods, spindles, cards, beads, cubes, and counters are some of the concrete tools used to symbolize mathematical abstractions.
The child does not merely learn to count; she understands the concept of “how many” because she holds the amount in her hands. Likewise, she is able to perform the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using concrete materials. She is also presented with possibilities of fact memorization at a young age when combinations like “3 + 2 = 5” offer a real fascination and can be absorbed readily. Like all Montessori materials, the mathematics materials build on each other in increasing complexity so that the child using them will experience the thrill of discovery for herself as part of a natural progression.
ARTS - INTEGRATED INTO THE PREPARED ENVIRONMENT
The Arts are not treated as specialty subjects in Montessori. Instead, art and music activities are viewed as forms of self-expression, and, as such, they complement and enhance the child’s ongoing explorations, including the enrichment of vocabulary. The materials for art and music are integrated into the prepared environment as part of the day-to-day activities of the children. Various media, such as crayons, chalk, pencils, paint, clay, textiles, and a variety of papers, are available as are the opportunities for singing, humming, dancing, beating time, playing instruments, moving to rhythms, and even songwriting
LARGE MOTOR ACTIVITIES
Developing large motor skills is essential for the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of a child. Children have outdoor activity twice daily using the playground, garden and sandbox. They also participate in large motor activities in the classroom, perhaps doing stretches, simple exercises, or dance and other movements.
Each child’s progress intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally is carefully observed and recorded by teachers and kept in each child’s file. Parent-teacher conferences are held in spring and fall, during which time the teacher will review these records with parents.
LANGUAGE - FROM SPOKEN TO WRITTEN
The Montessori preschool classroom emphasizes spoken language as the foundation for all linguistic expression. Throughout the entire Montessori environment, the child hears and uses precise vocabulary for all the activities, learning the names of textures, geometric shapes, composers, plants, mathematical expressions, and so on. In addition, certain materials in the language area are particularly supportive of spoken language. The materials for written language first introduce the chills to the marvelous twenty-six letters of the alphabet and their sounds, which make it possible for us to express ourselves in writing. Later, the child may begin composing words, sentences, and whole stories using the moveable alphabet. At this developmental stage, the child is fascinated with the relationships between letters that form words, the order of words in a sentence, and even the grammatical analysis of the parts of a sentence. Writing and eventually reading are often acquired spontaneously, sometimes accompanied by explosions of activity and joyous exclamations: “I can write!” “I can read!””
Montessori Program Begins
Pledge of Allegiance, Patriotic Songs
Calendar (date, days, year)
Fun facts: history, science, art, geography
Individual Montessori activities
Dismissal (half day students)
Afternoon Montessori activities
End of Montessori Program
Afternoon Program Begins
Activities may include music, cooking, art/craft, story time, reading, science, Indoor/outdoor large motor activities
Free choice activities