An important part of a toddler’s developing independence is learning to care for him/herself by washing hands and putting on shoes and jackets.Toddler exercises and activities recognize that children learn by doing. Classroom materials are always accessible, attractive, safe, and geared for a child’s success. Activities are changed regularly in response to children’s need for variety and challenge as they grow and learn. The safe, loving, gentle atmosphere puts children and parents at ease and makes for a trusting, spontaneous transition to school.
• PreK Excel and Kindergarten 4 years to 6 years
The classroom materials are grouped into five general areas: practical life, sensorial, language, math and science. The children are able to make independent choices in areas that are of greatest interest to them. They are then shown how to follow through with their choice. The adult then withdraws from the activity and the child continues to work independently. The practical life exercises help the children care for themselves independently and be responsible for maintaining their environment. The exercises are the foundation of the child’s work habits. The sensorial activities aid the child in the development of their senses and fine motor control through practical experiences with the textures, shapes, sizes, colors, smells and sounds of objects. The language materials provided are presented visually, kinetically and phonetically. The child is first provided a sensorial impression of the letter and then moves into writing and reading through prepared steps. Montessori math materials provide the child with a concrete impression of the quantity being taught, along with the symbols. The child is able to master abstract mathematical processes after the experience of manipulating physical representations of the concept. The cultural materials help teach the child about geography, zoology, botany and history.
The Montessori Pre K Excel programs moves the child on to their next step of readiness for the Elementary Program. They move from preprimary where they have mastered many Montessori introductory works, have presented them to younger children and have proven that they are ready to begin developing work pland to begin organizing their work day to be used efficiently and effectively.
Montessori children by the end of age five are normally curious, self-confident learners who look forward to going to school. They are normally engaged, enthusiastic learners who honestly want to learn and ask excellent questions. Our real hope is that the children will have an incredible sense of self-confidence, enthusiasm for learning, and will feel closely bonded to their teachers and classmates. We want much more than competency in the basic skills; we want to them to honestly enjoy school and feel good about themselves as students.the Montessori approach has been acclaimed as the most developmentally appropriate model currently available by some of America's top experts on early childhood and elementary education. One important difference between what Montessori offers the five-year-old and what is offered by many of today's kindergarten programs has to do with how it helps the young child to learn how to learn. Montessori is focused on teaching for understanding. In a primary classroom, three and four-year-olds receive the benefit of two years of sensorial preparation for academic skills by working with the concrete Montessori learning materials. This concrete sensorial experience gradually allows the child to form a mental picture of concepts like how big is a thousand, how many hundreds make up a thousand, and what is really going on when we borrow or carry numbers in mathematical operations. The value of the sensorial experiences that the younger children have had in Montessori have often been under-estimated by both parents and educators. Research is very clear that young children learn by observing and manipulating their environment, not through textbooks and workbook exercises. The Montessori materials give the child concrete sensorial impression of abstract concepts, such as long division, that become the foundation for a lifetime understanding. Because Montessori teachers are well trained in child development, they normally know how to present information in developmentally appropriate ways.
The classroom is designed to nurture imagination and reason.
Elementary age students are naturally curious and have a strong internal drive to discover how our world works. They may ask, “How does a fish breathe under water?” “What number comes after a trillion?” “What causes a volcano to erupt?” Instead of simply giving them the correct answers, Montessori elementary teachers ask the right questions; they tell stories to inspire the children’s imagination and tantalize them to explore on their own to find out more: about volcanoes and dinosaurs and Monet and gladiators and poppies and skateboards and butter churning and cheetahs and – there is no limit! Driven by their passions, the children are open to the input from the teacher that refines their reading, writing, reasoning, and research skills. Designing our elementary program around the children’s natural cognitive abilities means that our focus is less on the facts and concepts we teach and more on what the children learn and how they learn it.
The children’s work is open-ended and creative.
Each child’s response to a lesson is unique, and their follow up work reflects those individual differences. Your child is free to form or join a group to work with the concepts introduced in a lesson. For example, a group of children might have a lesson on the parts of a river. Some might choose to label an outline map with the rivers of North America. Others might choose to repeat the demonstration with the river model (and without the teacher), labeling for themselves the parts previously demonstrated. Another pair might be intrigued by a particular river mentioned in the lesson or by the river running through their city, and they might launch a research project about the Mississippi or the Willamette. Because the children are free to move around the classroom and see what others are doing, it’s not uncommon for an idea to spread; children are stimulated not just by the teacher’s lessons, but by each other.
Children are agents in their own education.
Children in Montessori have significantly more input into how they are taught, and control over how they learn, than children in traditional school settings. Their natural learning styles and preferences are respected and supported. The multi-age format of the classroom prevents comparison of children; differences in ability and achievement are expected. Lessons are presented in small groups to the children who are ready for them, regardless of their age. There is no social disadvantage to being bright, interested, and motivated at school. Likewise, there is no stigma for reviewing or repeating lessons to gain mastery. Your child is free to continue to work with a material or concept as long as necessary, or to move on when he is ready for a new challenge.
The children explore their own interests while meeting age-appropriate standards.
Montessori elementary students study both broadly and deeply, covering many subjects not attempted in traditional schools. The children often develop expertise in a subject that is especially interesting to them. Because there is not a rigid schedule or prescribed curriculum that the whole class must follow, your child can focus intensely on her self-chosen work, with minimal interruption. At the same time, she will collaborate with the teacher to ensure that the basic skills for each grade are mastered. A version of the public school standards is available to the class, and the teacher facilitates your child’s use of these standards as a guide to her work choices. To support her individualized plan of study, the teacher meets with her regularly to plan and assess her progress.
Montessori elementary children transition well into other schools
At the end of the Montessori elementary program, your child is ready for a very important transition: becoming an adolescent. The elementary years have given the child the freedom to develop as a unique individual. They have experienced the challenges and rewards of working with a group of other children of different ages and have seen their skills and talents put to use in many group projects. They have developed proficiency in all areas of academic endeavors and look forward to the new opportunities beyond Montessori elementary. A Montessori child loves and trusts the adults with whom they work. Above all,the child is flexible and adaptable.
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• Toddler / Preprimary
2 years to 4 years
The Toddler program, for children 21 months and up, takes advantage of the toddler’s natural drive to act independently. Follow The Child Montessori advances each child's growth and development through a rich and and well prepared environment designed just for toddlers. The classrooms are a special place for the young child to begin his/her steps towards independence and self-reliance.Dedicated, nurturing and trained teachers implement a toddler designed curriculum to foster cognitive development, speech and language development, strengthen fine motor and gross motor skills, introduce grace and courtesy lessons, and promote independence.