Early Childhood Program
The Early Childhood program is for children from 3 to 6 years.
The 3-6-year-old goes through an intense period of change, including the transition to cooperative play and more complex social interactions, a language explosion leading to beginning skills in writing and reading, the emergence of number sense and the foundations of math, and significant changes in physical development. The Montessori teacher responds to these changes in social and emotional, cognitive, and physical development with appropriate lessons to support each child’s growth and emerging capabilities.
The Innovative School advances each child's growth and development through a rich and well-prepared environment designed just for 3-6-year-olds.
Children learn by doing. The concrete materials in the classroom allow each child to explore the world through their senses, touch, and motion. One main feature of Montessori education is its hands-on approach to learning. Students work with specially designed materials, manipulating, and investigating until they master the lesson inside. Teachers guide students through the curriculum as children are ready for each new challenge, introducing lessons, and then letting children practice what they have learned. As children grow, the classroom materials grow with them in the sense that older children use the materials to explore curriculum in new and more profound ways.
Children come to school five days a week and may choose to stay for mornings-only or a full day. Kindergarteners enjoy a full day of school.
Each curriculum area of the Montessori classroom emphasizes specific skills, but there is dynamic interplay among the areas, enhancing children’s natural learning process. Each child progresses at his or her own individually appropriate pace, allowing each to be appropriately challenged and to become proficient in each area according to individual development and needs.
Montessori Practical Life activities are central to the classroom and prepare the child for all other areas. Practical Life exercises give children the opportunity to refine their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, hand strength, balance, concentration, and ability to do things for themselves.
Sensorial materials are designed to help children learn about qualities like color, size, shape, length, texture, and sound. Through the child’s work with these materials, they make abstractions and distinctions in the environment and discover knowledge through their own experiences with the materials. These lessons and activities assist children in refining essential skills and becoming good observers of the world.
Language permeates the classroom and crosses all curriculum areas. Students discover the power of writing through the use of sandpaper letters, the metal insets, and the movable alphabet. Simultaneously, they experience the ability to associate sounds with symbols and discover the mechanical ability to translate that knowledge into writing. The ability to write opens the door to reading. Children expand their ability to communicate by increased auditory discrimination, developing an enormous vocabulary, critical thinking, and fluency.
Stimulating Montessori mathematics materials are designed to promote student growth in understanding mathematical concepts. Children develop numeracy and numeral recognition using sandpaper numerals and teens and ten boards and become confident in manipulating numbers and representing various quantities with numerals. They explore the operations of arithmetic through the unique Montessori Golden Beads materials. Performing operations of arithmetic with the Golden Beads leads to the firm establishment of place value and the memorization concepts.
Students are introduced to real-life lessons and activities in the earth, life, and physical sciences. Our classrooms have an abundance of plants and animals and are responsible for their care. The child develops an initial understanding of living and nonliving things, how they differ, and how to categorize plants and animals. They learn the terminology for parts of a plant, a leaf, a flower, and a root as well as land, air and water animals. Children begin to understand the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates and classes of vertebrates, and life cycles. Students observe and participate in science experiments and are exposed to the traits, habits and food needs of the animal.
Building on their early experiences, children sort and classify the contents of their world and construct the knowledge of how all things are interconnected. The curriculum begins with the two hemispheres of Earth and becomes more detailed as children learn about continents, and then countries. Children are introduced to other cultures and discover what they have in common with all people.
Students and adults take care to be gracious toward and courteous of one another. This area of the curriculum encourages respect for oneself, for other members of the community, for the living things in the classroom, and for the environment. Carrying items carefully, returning them to their place so others may use them, moving gracefully and carefully, using polite and respectful language, showing consideration to others, good table manners, properly introducing oneself, and politely interrupting are all part of the curriculum.
The classroom includes an ever-changing selection of art and creative activities for children. Fine motor practice, colorwork, and imagination all come into play in the art area. Lessons on great artists, matching activities with fine art prints, collage, and glue, cutting with scissors, hole punching, markers, crayons, paint, and play-dough are all part of the curriculum. Art is about process and exploration. Children learn about artists and artistic styles through hands-on exploration and interactive materials.
Music supports nurturing the love of singing, chanting, and moving to the beat and rhythm of the music. We provide children with positive, joyful, and creative opportunities to experience musical subjects.