Our preschool program engages children in learning along many dimensions. Through independent exploration as well as individual and small group lessons we teach, guide and nurture children in all five core content areas of learning: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language Arts, Mathematics and Cultural (Geography and Science). Through careful and comprehensive record keeping, teachers in the class know each child’s level of mastery in each learning area and provide each child with lessons that are appropriate and timely for that specific child.
Practical life enhances the development of task organization and cognitive order through care of self: grooming, hand washing, and dressing frames, care of the environment: rolling a mat, putting work away, table washing, dusting, sweeping, mopping, wiping up spills and watering plants, exercises of grace and courtesy: saying please and thank you, using appropriate voice levels, sharing, listening, taking turns and using manners, and coordination and movement: grasping, twisting, sorting, spooning, pouring, tweezing, table setting, food prep, cutting, rolling, scooping, sifting and squeezing. It is these Practical Life activities that teach children to be independent and contribute to and take care of their environment.
The Sensorial area enables the child to order, classify and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass, color and pitch. The activities allow children to rediscover their environment by way of their senses in a clear and meaningful way. Some of the Montessori materials that the children will be using and exploring will help to develop the child’s visual discrimination of one, two and three dimensions, size, graduations of size in a series, colors and shapes. In addition, some of the Montessori sensorial materials indirectly prepare a child for work with the Montessori math materials. The sensorial materials allow the child to internalize and truly understand a wide range of concepts, each of which is done in a hands-on, concrete manner. The sensorial materials prepare the mind for a deep understanding of the principles of mathematics and at the same time prepare the child for work with the Montessori math materials.
The use of manipulative materials is used to enable the child to internalize concepts of the decimal system: counting 1 to 1,000 by units, numerical place value: recognizing quantities up to 9,999, operations with whole numbers: process of addition and subtraction, money: identifying coins and dollars and geometry: recognizing and constructing geometric figures. Children will first be introduced to the basic quantities of 1 to 10, by learning the names of the numbers using sandpaper numerals. They will then gain an understanding of the association of numeral and quantity using manipulatives that allow them to see the value of a number. Once a child has absolute clarity in the accurate association of numeral and quantity, they will be introduced to activities where they must put the numerals 1 to 10 in the correct sequence. Once the student has a sound knowledge of numbers one to ten as well as their corresponding quantities, they will continue to learn and be challenged with mathematical concepts such as counting and recognizing larger numbers and completing operations with whole numbers.
Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, alphabet cut-outs, sound boxes, moveable alphabet and various presentations allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing. The specific language arts areas of learning that we will be focusing on are letter sounds: consonants and vowels, oral language development: responding to and asking questions, enunciating sounds, picture story, auditory discrimination and phonemic awareness: recognizing, identifying, isolating and manipulating individual sounds in words, visual discrimination: matching picture to object, picture to picture and parts to whole, patterning, concept development: sequencing a story with pictures, matching opposites, classifying and sorting, and speaking and listening: following spoken directions, listening to stories, asking and answering question.
Cultural lessons expose the child to basics in geography, history, and science. Music, art, and movement education are part of the integrated cultural curriculum.
The year will always begin with the study of our world and the important land and water forms that are a part of it. The students will be introduced to the world map and globe and have several hands-on opportunities to explore both. The students will also learn, discover and explore the countries and flags, people and culture, biomes and animals of all seven continents. The continent topics of study are taught on a two-year rotating schedule, year 1: North America, South America, Europe and Antarctica, year 2:North America Review, Asia, Africa and Australia.
We will study and explore three areas of science:
Physical Science: Students will compare materials and learn how to identify their physical properties, classify items such as liquid, solid or gas, understand how electricity works and experiment with magnets.
Life Science: We will begin the study of life sciences by understanding what is life and how to tell the difference between living and nonliving things. We will learn what all living things need in order to survive and discover the life cycles of plants and animals through real life experiments of planting seeds, raising chicks from eggs and caterpillars to butterflies. We will also discover and learn all about the human body and understand the importance of our skin, muscles, bones, heart, brain, lungs and the five senses.
Earth Science: While studying planet Earth, the students will learn the difference between land and water forms and have the opportunity to explore and create both. They will investigate and discover rocks and minerals and be able to sort and match various ones. They will also learn about parts of a volcano, understand why they erupt and be able to create their own. We will also study and explore the solar system and learn about the planets, sun, moon and constellations. The children will gain an understanding about the location of each of these in space and be able to identify them.
Time and History
To understand the concept of time, the students will actively participate in completing a daily calendar. This activity will allow the children to learn their days of the week and months of the year. They will also be introduce to time, learning about seconds, minutes and hours and understanding the sequence of a day. Our history units will focus on learning about important people of the past including Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The children will learn and understand who these famous people are and why they are so important to our history.
Holidays & Celebrations
Throughout the year, we will be learning about many holidays and celebrations from around the world. Some of these holidays and celebrations include Patriotic Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veteranʼs Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day, Ground Hog’s Day, Chinese New Year, Abraham Lincolnʼs & George Washington’s Birthday, Valentineʼs Day, St. Patrickʼs Day, Passover, Easter, Arbor Day/Earth Day, Motherʼs Day, and Fatherʼs Day.