Pre-primary 18 months to 3 years
Our uniquely prepared toddler environment meets the young child's many physical and emotional needs. The classroom is beautifully designed to appeal to the child's curiosity. Furniture is custom-sized to allow for maximum exploration and development of the senses.
Classroom exercises include sensorial work, and instruction in math and language. As the child grows emotionally, physically, and intellectually, the activities in the classroom continue to change to meet his needs.
In many instances, this is the first experience the child has of being a member of his own "society." The child is encouraged to be a functioning member of this society, thus leading him to a feeling of pride and dignity. Waiting one's turn, sharing, and patience are important lessons that each child learns.
The Montessori teacher offers the tenderness, warmth and patience so essential at this age. An emphasis on the importance of a peaceful environment, along with the necessary nurturing and caring, are characteristics of this program.
"I did it myself" is a favorite phrase of children in this age group. Their desire for independence pushes them to explore their environment and gives them the persistence to accomplish challenging tasks. In this area of the Montessori classroom, the challenges of daily tasks are isolated in manageable activities. The complexity of a task is slowly increased to gradually build skills and confidence while nurturing the need for independence. Children learn the basics of self care; from feeding themselves, wiping their noses, and washing their hands, to dressing themselves, using the bathroom independently, and managing their own belongings. This area of curriculum also extends to social skills and etiquette. Children are taught to tend the environment of the classroom and to respect the needs of others as well as themselves. Responsibilities such as tending classroom plants and checking that the shelves are in order give children a sense of pride and accomplishment. Through guided interactions and modeling, young children learn the basics of problem-solving and appropriate social conduct.
Sensorial activities aim to develop a child's awareness through his senses. By matching and comparing increasingly similar objects; Sensorial activities invite a child's attention and curiosity. As a child gains the ability to quietly attend to his senses, he can move from visual comparisons to differentiating textures, sounds, smells, and weights. Supplementary activities such as nature walks and food preparation enhance the young child's awareness of their surroundings and their senses.
Language is verbal, conceptual, and written. The work in a Language section is designed to support developing language in these areas. Verbal language is encouraged through group activities, guided conversation, modeling, vocabulary lessons, reading, and interaction. Conceptualizing language begins with understanding visual representations, being able to recognize pictures of objects, create logical sequences, and recognize patterns. Written language activities aim to refine motor control by tracing lines first with fingers and later with writing implements.
Math for this age group encourages exploration of quantities with tactile materials and fuels a child's natural curiosity about counting and reading numerals. One-to-one correspondence is used as a control of error while children become familiar with graduating quantities, eventually reading and understanding numerical symbols.