Classroom Login

Preschool/Kindergarten

Home / Programs / Preschool/Kindergarten

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD (AGES 3-6)

Early Childhood education is vital to a child’s lifelong educational journey. The Primary program, a three-year program combining preschool and kindergarten, provides introductions to the culture, curriculum, and skill sets that characterize education at Great Beginnings Montessori. Our curriculum sets the foundation for future academic success, and develops the necessary skills to meet 21st century demands: growing autonomy, independence, cooperation, collaboration, and flexibility.

Our Sunshine and Friendship classrooms are uniquely suited to the needs of our students. Primary classrooms have low sinks, chairs, and tables; a reading corner with a comfy floor cushion; reachable shelves; and child-sized kitchen tools. These elements allow our children to develop independence and help refine small motor skills.

Primary classrooms include three, four, five & six year old students who work individually and collaboratively in small groups. Our teachers model how to quietly set down a tray, or courteously walk around another child working on his own. A three-year-old child also learns by watching older children who are further along in their development.

Students in our primary program stay with the same class throughout the three-year program. A Montessori-trained teacher and one-to-two assistants guide each classroom.


Curriculum

The primary program at Great Beginnings Montessori School is based on the Montessori method. A carefully prepared environment provides activities in practical life, sensory development, language, mathematics, science, geography, art and music. Children three to six move through a sequential curriculum at their individual rates. Independence, initiative, respect, and responsibility are fostered in a warm, caring, orderly, and stimulating setting. The primary program provides opportunities for focus, concentration and the joy of discovery. Working with the many activities helps the children to discover and begin to master their environment.

Once a teacher presents a lesson to a curious child for the first time, the child is free to use it and revisit it he likes, but always returns it to its shelf in proper order. It is in the repetition of the work process in which learning occurs.

Materials appeal to the child’s human tendencies to explore, to find order and orientation, to manipulate and repeat precise movements, controlling the error, until relative perfection is reached. Learning is made possible for the child: it is not forced.


Practical Life

This area is the link to the child’s home environment and is a familiar and comfortable perch from which to begin exploring the world. The exercises in practical life form the foundation of the Montessori philosophy and encompass a great diversity of activities to help the child grow toward greater concentration and independence. The materials fulfill specific purposes in the real world for children. They learn to take care of the environment, e.g. sweeping, dusting and scrubbing a table or chair, caring for plants and animals. They learn to take care of themselves, e.g. washing hands, polishing shoes, and dressing. These specifically designed activities enable the child to realize order and logic in the classroom environment.

Concentration, attention to detail, order, independence, and muscular coordination originate with this work and continue to develop through repetition. In addition, practical life centers the child in a social atmosphere where lessons of grace and courtesy are the mainstays of conversation. A child is treated with respect and is therefore respectful.


 Cultural Studies

In the primary program, the cultural area introduces the child to aspects of the world using the hands-on approach. This allows the child to absorb information in a natural manner, encourages the child to observe what goes on around them and helps the child to begin to make sense of it all. In addition, learning the true names of real things and seeing relationships is a meaningful way to look at the world.

Geography includes an introduction to the Gee-sphere (land, air and water) the land/water and continent globes, puzzle maps of the world and individual continents, mapping activities, land and water forms, and an introduction to climate/environment areas of the world. The study of the continents gives hands-on experience in making maps and flags, dressing in costumes, music, dance, art, stories and dramatizations and the investigation of a people through artifact boxes and the occasional guest speaker.

History includes personal time lines and time lines of plants and animals, and the study of the passage of time with clocks and timers.

Physical Education and Movement

The children will have ample opportunity to play outside. On days of inclement weather gross motor activities will be done “on the line” in the classroom.


998885_10151998169932942_1172131147_n

Special Studies

The children have foreign language instruction weekly. Music and Art are integrated into the daily community time and work time.


Mathematics

The Montessori approach to math is special for many reasons. All the operations learned in math come from concrete manipulations of materials including rods, beads, spindles, cubes, cards and counters, etc. The children do not merely learn to count, they are also able to visualize the whole structure of our numeration system and perform the operations of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division using a variety of concrete materials to manipulate.

A balance exists between small group and individual lessons depending on the material being presented. The Montessori materials are concrete and very appealing to children. Each presentation begins with the quantity, then the symbol and finally the association between the two.

Because young children need concrete manipulation of materials to understand mathematical concepts, this area uses a multi-sensory approach, which invites careful movement. The children all move through the same sequence of materials and concepts, but at his or her pace.


Science

In Life Science the child uses models, specimens, pictures, classroom pets and plants to begin to identify, match, and classify things in the environment. There is some investigation of the external parts of vertebrates and plants using observations of living samples and specimens and nomenclature materials. Life cycles of plants and animals are introduced through classroom observations and sequence cards.

Earth Science includes the naming, matching and sorting of rock and mineral specimens and daily observation and recording of the weather.

In Physical Science the child has hands-on experiences in the investigation and observation of matter such as in Sink/Float or Magnetic/Non-magnetic activities.

Astronomy is introduced concretely in our “The Birthday Celebration.” The child symbolically walks around the sun for every year of their life.


 


ResizeImage
936412_10151998171607942_2121018054_n

Sensorial

The sensorial exercises are comprised of a series of objects that are grouped together because they share a physical quality such as size, shape, sound or color. Learning to perceive minute differences between and among objects trains a child’s senses.

The Montessori sensorial materials offer a wealth of concrete objects. The sensorial area gives the child a perceptual idea of basic mathematics. It is indirect preparation for the mathematics, language (sound discrimination, visual perception, eye-hand coordination), and the cultural areas (awareness of classification).


Language

The young child enters school during a period of great sensitivity to language. Language development, its usage and vocabulary are therefore woven throughout the classroom. Combining the child’s natural curiosity with hands-on activity helps the child internalize information. The language program encourages the development of oral language, auditory, writing and reading skills.

In Primary, reading and writing begin with a simple sandpaper letter. Instead of watching a teacher write letters on a board our students hold the letter, speaks its sound, and traces it with his finger; the beginnings of writing. Brain research shows that this hands-on type of learning helps children make better connections to the information they learn. Tracing the letters helps them learn how to sound out letters, write them and eventually form words. Immersed in a language-rich environment, he moves onto simple then complex words, grammar, sentence analysis and composition.

Opportunities for oral expression are provided daily. The children listen to and participate in familiar and new stories, poetry, rhymes, and songs. These activities also lend themselves to dramatic expression. Sharing and talking about group and individual experiences allow the children other opportunities for conversation.

Teachers read aloud to the children regularly. Listening skills are further developed through music, appropriate questioning, storytelling, sharing time, CDs, silence games and sound matching activities. The Montessori language materials isolate letter sounds, show correct letter formation and reinforce the sound/symbol connection.

Teachers are constantly modeling writing through activities such as: group experience stories, child dictated stories, adapted work, transcribing the child’s description of his/her art work, and daily functional writing. Children are encouraged to use writing materials throughout the classroom. Following Maria Montessori’s premise, writing precedes reading. Accepting the child’s own spelling and letter formation affirms and promotes the child’s writing. Before the child is ready for a pencil, using the movable alphabet allows the child to “write” personal stories.

Reading is presented with a phonetic base, sight word vocabulary and group language activities which encourage the children to become aware of words, sentences, beginning punctuation, content, authors, illustrators and publishers.


1422340_10152400266982942_145626668_n-1