Entire books have been written explaining Montessori curriculum and philosophy. Essentially, the Montessori philosophy allows for children to choose materials from the shelves once they’ve had lessons on those materials. As children finish with materials, they replace them on the shelves and choose new materials. This cycle, continuing daily during Montessori work time, allows children to develop concentration, independence, coordination, and order. During a typical work cycle, children use materials from all areas of the classroom.
Our primary program is for children three to six years of age who are fully toilet independent.
The mixed-age element of these classrooms is purposeful. Younger children observe the challenging work and language skills of their older friends. Older children have the opportunity to be classroom leaders, helping new or younger friends and gaining confidence.
Children in the primary classes are in the same classrooms for three years. This continuity allows for children to feel very familiar with the teachers and safe in their classrooms. Their teachers know them very well and ensure they are academically, socially, and emotionally well-prepared for elementary school.
One of Maria Montessori’s major discoveries was that young children love to learn and are capable of great concentration. Parents are often pleasantly surprised by how much toddler children learn and grow in our program.
Children in our toddler classrooms start at either 18 months or 2 years old, and continue in the same classroom until they move to the primary classrooms. In the toddler classroom, children work on toilet-training, become familiar with a school routine, and prepare for the primary classrooms.
Toddlers develop independence, dressing themselves, feeding themselves, and choosing work. In a language-rich environment, our toddlers often explode into language and enjoy making friends.
Our kindergarteners are our pride and joy! Children who are five years old before the end of October are eligible for our kindergarten program. This program is fully accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education. Rather than take a nap, kindergarten children participate in a second work cycle. During this time, kindergarteners focus on academic work with an emphasis on language and math.
By the end of the school year, kindergarteners have learned about grammar, geography, fractions, measurement, multiplication, anatomy, solar systems, and much more. As the oldest children in their classrooms, they are also our leaders. Kindergarten children often help their younger friends, and have the opportunity to give lessons as well. Beyond learning more advanced Montessori work, kindergarteners also partake in field trips, experiments, and cooking.
The cornerstone of a Montessori classroom, Practical Life materials are welcoming and inviting and provide fundamental and necessary skills for children. Children learn to pour, sew, button, hammer, polish, wash, dust, and more. Many materials involve water or tools, and allow children to work independently on fine motor skills.
As children become older, the complexity of Practical Life work increases. Children practice multi-step activities to develop memory, such as flower arranging and table washing. These lessons often involve both large and fine motor skills. Simultaneously fun and purposeful, Practical Life materials lay the groundwork for future academic work.
Developmentally, young children are sensorial learners. Much more than adults, they use their senses to explore and understand the world around them.
Sensorial materials involve movement and allow children to order objects, whether by height, length, width, or shade. These materials provide opportunities for children to observe similarities and differences, and involve many different senses, including sense of touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste, stereognostic, and baric.
Choosing work that refines their senses, children develop visual acuity and the ability to differentiate between similar objects. This helps when children later must distinguish between a 6 and a 9 or between two sounds that sound very similar.
Within the scope of three years, children in our primary Montessori classrooms are able to read fluently. The speed and accuracy with which they develop from pre-readers to fluent readers attests to the materials and the logical progression within the classroom.
Language materials involve spoken language, written language, and reading. Through conversations, stories, games, and rhymes, even our youngest children develop their spoken language skills. Most children learn how to write before reading by tracing shapes and using chalkboards. Children begin the first steps toward reading by learning the phonetic sounds through multi-sensory materials. Older children delve into more abstract language work, eventually learning parts of speech and practicing story-writing.
Maria Montessori coined the phrase “mathematical mind” to describe a child’s aptitude for math. Children are interested in the concept of more, and once taught their numbers, quantities, and what they mean, begin to enjoy arithmetic
Beginning Montessori math is very concrete. If two children are learning how to add, they physically combine two amounts to create a larger number. When dividing, children start with a large number and then begin equally sharing that number. This very concrete practice of arithmetic allows children to see and understand what addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division mean. All arithmetic begins in a very concrete manner, involves the movement of the children, and eventually becomes more abstract work.
Part of our mission statement is to help young children become dynamic citizens of the world. The cultural shelves in the classroom reinforce the notion that the world is a vast and amazing place, with all types of countries, people, animals, plants, and more. Cultural materials integrate geography, science, botany, zoology, and anatomy.
Children may create art during the work cycle. Painting, molding clay, cutting, and pasting allow children to be creative and develop large and small motor skills. Children learn about artists, musicians, instruments, listen to music, and also create weekly art projects in the afternoons.
Children are the caretakers of our classroom gardens, and take care of the planting, weeding, and watering of the garden beds. Not only does gardening connect children to the food they eat, it encourages patience and responsibility.
The prepared environment of the classroom allows children to move around the classroom, freely choosing materials and their workspaces. Without having to ask, children are free to use the bathroom or eat snacks during the work cycle. This freedom of movement and freedom of choice allows children to develop confidence and independence.
Spanish & Yoga
Each afternoon, our primary children either practice yoga or receive a Spanish lesson. During yoga, children practice on their own mats, learning new poses, developing self-control, and becoming stronger.
Our full-time bilingual Spanish teachers make Spanish fun, with songs, games, and special activities. Toddlers begin learning Spanish and continue through Kindergarten.