Ages 3 to 6 years
The Children’s House classrooms, including Pre-K and Kindergarten children in the same multi-age group, first and foremost, are a “children’s house”: a calming and respectful space that belongs to the children in scale, proportion, flow, comfort, safety, and inspiration. It is a hands-on, interactive, sensorial environment that “calls” to them. It is a place “of grace and beauty”. It is here that the seeds of literacy, numeracy, care of self, others and the environment are sown. Both the practical and wondrous are offered in response to the child’s innate striving toward independence, toward the desire and ability to “do it for myself”.
The Sensorial area in the Montessori classroom is alive with materials that call out to the child: “Look at me.” “Touch me.” “Hold me.” “Listen to me.” These materials are designed for the development and refinement of the ability to observe, compare, discriminate, differentiate, reason, decide, and solve problems. The child is urged by what she sees to explore the materials with her hands. A child engaged with the Sensorial works expresses joy and amazement as her hand is connected with the development of the mind.
The child who has been given the gift of sensori-motor learning—the opportunity to construct a visual image from the manipulation of a physical object—has been allowed to develop a secure foundation for her intellectual growth and activity.
Geography and Culture
“Peace Education” is one of the most important components of a good Montessori program, but it is also one of the more difficult integrated aspects to put your finger on and explain. Peace Education is teaching, modeling, and encouraging respect and support of ones self, others, and the community as a whole.
In the Children’s House, we provide lessons and model the skills that are appropriate for developing “peace” for this age group. We use the classic “Peace Table” for individual situations, and also give group and individual lessons using materials. Peace curriculum skills that we work on in the Children’s House level include:
- identifying and naming feelings in yourself and others
- respecting of self and others
- reflective listening and conflict resolution
- self-calming (anger management)
- grace and courtesy
- interconnectedness of all things
- environmental stewardship
- befriending and caring for people who are “different” from you
Integrated Curriculum and the Whole Child
As you can see, we have a full curriculum of topics and materials. These “subjects” are fully integrated, as one activity or “work” can cover a variety of areas. By doing this, we are also considering the development of the whole child. We aren’t focused only on typically academic topics but also on the social/emotional and artistic development and expression of every student.