Preschool and Kindergartners start their day with a circle time. Their teacher guides them through music & movement, a discussion for the day, calendar, weather and a large group lesson. She will present a ‘work’ to the children to demonstrate how to use it. Finally, she will send them off to work in the classroom! During that time, teachers observe & give small group and individual lessons.
The Montessori classrooms are composed of 4 major areas:
Practical Life– Children love the Practical Life area because it enables them to do adult work in a child size environment all while preparing their bodies for academics, specifically strengthening their fine motor skills and pencil-holding grip. Practical Life skills are the foundation of all other areas in a Montessori environment. Practical Life activities build children’s concentration, coordination, order and independence enabling them to master other Montessori curriculum areas. Examples are pouring, slicing, scooping, sweeping, washing, using tongs, etc.
Sensorial– The Montessori Sensorial curriculum promotes the development and refinement of the five senses. Children learn through their senses and
the materials in a Montessori environment provide learning through touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight or hands-on manipulation. Examples of Sensorial learning activities are sorting objects, matching colors, matching the same tastes or same smells. A popular Montessori Sensorial work is the pink tower where pink cubes are built from the largest at the bottom to the smallest cube at the top. The pink tower cubes are a concrete representation of the Decimal Numeral or Base Ten System of Mathematics. Children love to build the pink tower!
Math– Learning mathematical concepts in a Montessori classroom begins concretely and progresses towards the abstract. For example, children will eventually see the number 1000 and know what it looks like on paper (abstract), however it is very important that they visually see a physical 1000 to hold and compare to 100, 10 or 1 (concrete). This is why we have the unit bead, the 10 bar, the hundred square and the thousand cube. In all our math lessons, process is taught first and facts come later.
- Numbers to Ten- the foundation of math is numbers to ten
- The Decimal System- students learn that zero can give a greater value to a number, and they also learn the language of the larger numbers.
- The Teens and Tens-students learn to associate quantities, names, and symbols of the teens and tens. This is the foundation for when they work on the linear and skip counting
- The Exploration and Memorization of Tables- focuses on the exploration and memorization of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables
- The Transitional Materials-these materials allow students to re-examine all the concepts he has already learned. Students begin to realize that the materials hinder their efficiency and they no longer require the materials to do the operations. When the child reaches this point, he can now think abstractly.
- Fractions-the last section of the math area introduces the child to fractions and has the child explore the materials in order to discover the rules of each fraction operation.
Language– The Language curriculum is phonetic in nature and utilizes powerful teaching tools to help children learn to decode phonetic words and high frequency/sight words. It promotes early reading and writing skills. Dr. Maria Montessori realized that there is a sensitive period of language development and that the richer the learning environment, the more language skills the child will acquire. Montessori promotes the love of reading and writing. Because we start with a small set of letters that can be grouped together to make words, students in Montessori classrooms learn to read basic phonetic words very quickly. Showing them they can read, even at this basic level boosts confidence and excitement for more! The sky is the limit when it comes to our language program!
Cultural Studies, Science, Art, Music and Foreign Languages– In addition to our 4 core areas, Novi Woods Montessori’s curriculum is well known for its impressive units in Cultural Studies, Science, Art, Music and Foreign Languages. It is important to note that the whole curriculum is tied together. For example, when we study Asia in Cultural Studies, children will be exposed Asian art, Asian food in Practial Life, Asian Music, and an Asian animal that can be studied in science. Perhaps there will be rough and smooth objects from Asia to discover in the Sensorial area and books from Asia to look through in our Language area. Finally, teachers could add small objects from Asia to the math area for 1-1 counting. It is this integration that makes the Montessori classroom so special and will stay with your child for years to come.
Kindergarten-The third (or Kindergarten) year is the time when many of the earlier lessons come together and become permanent part of the young child’s mind. We call this year ‘the explosion year’! By this time, most Montessori children will be reading, and many will be introduced to higher math concepts. As a five-year-old, they are now the “Leaders,” rich with experience and knowledge and may be able to teach their younger classmates lessons. Research proves that this experience has powerful benefits for both the mentor and the mentee. This also encourages empathy, increased self-confidence and enthusiasm for the learning process, which they can leave Novi Woods with, and carry with them the rest of their life.
The Daily Schedule for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners is:
7:00am Child care (free play, breakfast)
8:00am Clean up, group activity
8:30am Montessori circle time (music, calendar, large group lesson)
9:00am Montessori individual work time
11:00am Closing circle time
11:30am Dismissal for ½ day, lunch for full-day students
12:00pm Recess (outdoors/indoors)
12:30pm Rest time, greeting for p.m. class
1:15pm Montessori individual work time
3:15pm Circle Time
3:30pm Class dismissal
3:40pm Child care (outdoors, group activities)
4:45pm Clean up, bathrooms, handwashing
5:00pm Group snack/ group activity
5:30pm Free play
6:00pm School closes