Our Preschool Program seeks to stimulate the child's curiosity and encourage well-rounded growth for all children based on their individual levels of development. Children get the chance to be involved in a variety of activities that foster their love of learning and discovery.
Some elements of the program are more structured and primarily evolve around the choice of the child, which offers an excellent introduction to self-guided learning. Through group and individual project work, the children will expand their skills in mathematics, science, social skills, music, visual arts, drama and language.
The classroom is set-up with specifically designed materials, taking important aspects of a child's development into account, so as to help them benefit more fully from "periods of sensitivity". The classroom has five sections: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematical and Cultural. The program also incorporates creative arts, movement and singing.
1.Practical Life: The Skills of Daily Living
In the Montessori classroom, there are four distinct groups of Practical Life exercises:
Care of Person (buttoning, zipping, combing)
Care of Environment (cleaning, sweeping, gardening, ironing, polishing)
Development of Social Relations (greeting, serving, accepting, apologizing, saying please and thank you)
Movement (balancing, walking on the line, playing the silence game)
2. Sensorial: Exploring the World
Children live in a world of senses. In order to continue their creative task of development, children need to classify and express the impressions they have already received. Through sight, touch, sound, taste and smell, the sensorial Montessori materials enable them to clarify, classify and comprehend their world.
Besides enabling a child to clarify and internalize such concepts as size, shape, colour, taste, and sound, the sensorial materials also provide a basis for the development of skills, such as music, mathematics, or language.
3. Mathematics: From Concrete to the Abstract
Preschool aged children have naturally mathematical minds. They have the capacity to reason, to calculate, and to estimate. They are intensely conscious of quantity, counting pebbles on the beach or cookies for dessert. The concrete Montessori mathematical materials allow these sensorial explorers to begin their mathematical journey from the concrete to the abstract through manipulation, experimentation, and invention.
Rods, spindles, cards, beads, cubes and counters are some of the concrete tools used to symbolize mathematical abstractions. The child does not merely learn to count; they understand the concepts of how many because they hold the amount in their hands. Likewise, they are able to perform the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using concrete materials. They are also presented with the possibilities of fact memorization at a young age when combinations like 3+2=5 offer a real fascination and can be absorbed readily.
Like all Montessori materials, the mathematical materials build on each other in increasing complexity so that a child using them will experience the thrill of discovery for themselves as part of a natural progression.
4. Language: From Spoken to Written
The Montessori preschool classroom emphasizes spoken language as the foundation for all linguistic expression. Throughout the entire Montessori environment, the child hears and uses precise vocabulary for all the activities, learning the names of textures, geometric shapes, composers, plants, mathematical operations, and so on. In addition, certain materials in the language area are particularly supportive of spoken language.
The materials for written language first introduce the child to the marvelous 26 letters of the alphabet and their sounds, which make it possible for us to express ourselves in writing. Later, the child may begin composing words, sentences, and whole stories using the Moveable Alphabet.
At this developmental stage, the child is fascinated with the relationships among letters that form words and the order of words in a sentence. Writing and eventually reading are often acquired.
5. Culture: Allows the Child to Explore the Natural World Around Them and Includes:
Geography (continents, landforms, earth layers, solar system)
Zoology (classification, physiology of animals)
Botany (ecology, classification, physiology of plants)
History (timelines, using a calendar)
The cultural area is divided into geography, history, nature and science. There are many geography materials in the classroom to teach a child their place in the world. History assists a child in learning about the concept of change. By looking at the seasons, studying the weather and changing the calendar daily, a child learns to establish a cycle of time.
6. Art and Music: Integrated into the Prepared Environment
The arts are not treated as specialty subjects in Montessori. Instead, art and music activities are viewed as forms of self- expression, and as such they complement complement and enhance the children’s ongoing explorations, including the enrichment of vocabulary. The materials of art and music are integrated into the prepared environment as part of the day-to-day activities of the children.
Various media, such as crayons, chalk, pencils, paint, clay, textiles, and variety of papers are available as are opportunities for singing, dancing and playing instruments.
Art and music are also explored culturally as they connect to historical periods and geographical places.
Art and music are also explored sensorially through prints hung at childrens height and music listening activities. Even the physical arrangement of the prepared environment is designed with an eye to colour, proportion, and overall beauty.