“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Sowing the Seeds for a Love of Learning
Your child has extraordinary powers of mind, possessing a once-in-a-lifetime ability to simply absorb information and concepts from all surroundings, like a sponge. The Montessori Children’s House (Primary) program, for children between the ages of three to six, is designed to meet the needs of your child in this crucial phase of life. These early experiences shape their perceptions about the world and their attitudes about learning.
Children are engaged peacefully and purposefully.
Many parents are often surprised to see the calm environment of a Children’s House classroom; in fact, it is designed to help your child become his or her best self. We support his natural drive for independence by encouraging a conscious choice of activities of interest, without interruption. The resulting feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction engender respect from the children toward others. Through “grace and courtesy” exercises, we teach children how to appropriately work through conflicts, how to act politely in various situations, and how to be kind and helpful to their friends. The result is a cohesive and self-aware community of young children.
It’s a mixed-age class.
Because the learning is individualized, your child can work at his or her own pace while participating in a mixed-age classroom community. Younger children benefit from example, and learn from the activities of the older children, while each older child gains the self-confidence that comes with responsibility and leadership.
The children are very independent.
Often, children who don’t do things for themselves simply don’t know how or haven’t been given the chance. Here children have both. We carefully teach your child how to care for his or her own needs and provide opportunities to practice and improve. When children can successfully care for themselves and the environment in which they live, their demeanor becomes one of self-accomplishment and self-confidence.
The classroom is child-centered, not teacher-centered.
Unlike traditional classrooms, where your child is expected to pay rapt attention to the teacher, in the Primary classroom the guide is trained to observe each individual child. You won’t see a Montessori teacher standing in front of the classroom writing on a chalkboard, but rather down at your child’s level, individually engaging or working with a small group.
The curriculum is highly individualized.
The teacher is trained to recognize and respect the unique potential operating within your child and strives to connect him or her to the activity best suited at that moment. A Montessori teacher is trained to introduce your child to activities and concepts based upon observations of her developmental needs and readiness. The learning, however, is not so much taking place in the lesson, as it is through independent activity when the child comes back to explore it, repeat it, and perfect it. The art of being a Montessori teacher is in finding the activity that combines both interest and the right challenge—not too hard and not too easy. In this classroom, your child will become engaged with an activity, developing an increased ability to focus and concentrate.
A wide variety of beautiful, hands-on learning materials help children learn.
The scientifically designed Montessori materials help to develop a new skill or reveal a new concept through your child’s use and exploration. Some provide the opportunity to perfect the practical skills of caring for one’s own needs or for the classroom environment. Some enrich vocabulary and open the door to writing, reading, and the parts of speech. Others build on your child’s natural interest in counting and introduce an understanding of the decimal system and the processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Some encourage artistic self-expression through the introduction of skills and media. Use of the materials builds a foundation of concrete experiences of abstract concepts, such as mathematics, assisting your child to a deeper level of understanding.
While most of the morning and afternoon is spent in self-directed activity, there are also times in the day for group activities and play.
The teacher may gather a group for songs and stories about social, biological, geographical, and historical themes of interest and your child will have a choice to participate or continue on with his activity. Indoor classroom space extends to a safe and contained outdoor environment with gardens and activities, so your child can work outdoors. Most schools also incorporate an outdoor playground for large motor activity and play.
Your child will stay in the Children’s House classroom for 3 years, including the traditional “kindergarten year.”
Montessori is a continuum of education that allows your child to build upon his/her experiences each year. In the first year, the days will be filled with activities centered around “Practical Life.” Here, he learns to sweep the floor, bake bread, polish silver and clean the leaves of plants. He experiments with sensorial materials that educate his visual, auditory and tactile senses. He plays vocabulary sound games and sings and dances when children gather for group activities.
As the child continues, she is introduced to sounds and symbols which lay the groundwork for reading and writing in the future. She is introduced to numbers and the decimal system – with the most amazing concrete materials to show her the way. She learns about land and water forms, geometric figures, the political countries of the world; she learns about the parts of plants and animals and about music and art – at her own pace, in her own time.
It is during his third year (the traditional kindergarten year) that everything comes to fruition for your child. Reading, writing and mathematical understanding blossom from the many seeds that were planted in the previous two years. The child leaves the program with a strong set of academic skills; but, far more importantly, with the attitude that learning is fun, exciting and boundless.