The early childhood program is designed for children ages 3 through 6 years old. In the early childhood program, the ultimate goal for each individual is to develop concentration, self-regulated behavior, independence, confidence, and an interest in learning about his/her world. Children take great pride in real, purposeful work, and in their ability to contribute to their community as active and helpful participants.
The early childhood classroom contains six main content areas: math, language arts, sensorial, practical life, cultural sciences, and peace education. Children engage in multi sensory work with concrete materials, until they no longer need the materials to understand abstract concepts. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that “the hand is the instrument of the mind”. Children in the classroom are actively engaged in the process of discovery and encouraged to explore materials to fully satisfy their curiosity in each content area.
Math work in the early childhood classroom is to prepare the mathematical mind. It begins with an understanding of quantity and symbol, progressing to place value and experiences with the four operations of mathematics (addition, multiplication, subtraction and division).
The early childhood classroom provides extensive materials, as well as the opportunity to engage with classmates and teachers, and to continue to develop language and social skills. Students at this age are still in the absorbent mind stage; they have the ability to absorb knowledge quickly and effortlessly. Children are provided work to develop their spoken, written and reading abilities. We first focus on letter sounds, then the ability to recall their associated symbol, and finally the formation of words which leads to reading.
Sensorial materials are provided to engage a child’s natural tendency to explore the physical world around them through the involvement of all the senses. The goal of the sensorial area is to aid in the refinement of the five senses through the manipulation and exploration of concrete materials, so the child will have a better understanding of his world.
Practical life helps children develop everyday life skills. They promote the development of a child’s concentration, coordination, confidence, independence and sense of order. Practical life includes lessons on how to care for oneself, how to care for the environment, how to practice polite, social interactions (grace and courtesy) and food preparation.
The cultural science area introduces children to geography, history, culture, physical science and life science lessons. As with all the content areas, cultural science work is consistently being changed so new concepts are introduced. Students enjoy learning about the world, beginning with themselves and outward to the community.
The last content area in the early childhood classroom is peace education. Conflict resolution and verbalizing emotions in an appropriate manner are taught and shown throughout the classroom. Students are encouraged to speak to each other to work through their issues rather than immediately getting an adult. These skills are beneficial in preparing our students to become peaceful leaders of the world.
Early childhood students will learn through work, repetition and guided choices in the prepared Montessori environment. The early childhood program offers full day, 8:30am-3:15pm, morning only, 8:30am-11:15am, or afternoon only, 12:30pm-3:15pm, options. Students will enjoy outdoor time twice a day when the weather permits. Extended care is also available from 7:15am to 8:30am and 3:15pm to 5:30pm.
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