Preschool 3-4 years old through Kindergarten

Children under six years old need to explore and discover in order to be calm and happy. They see the world through new eyes and therefore are always curious about everything. Children learn by touching and manipulating objects, hence they want to touch everything. Children respond to order because of their innate need to know where things belong and how pieces fit together. They want to master the movements of their own bodies by learning to balance, run, skip, and jump. And they are fascinated by the customs and traditions of people in their lives.

In a Montessori classroom, the objective is approached by allowing the child to experience the excitement of learning by his own choice. It is also approached by helping the child perfect his natural tools for learning, so that the child's abilities will be maximized for future learning situations. Montessori materials have this dual, long-range purpose in addition to their intermediate goal of giving specific information to the child. The Montessori classroom is multi-age. Three, four, and five years old share the same classroom. Through constant interaction, children learn to take responsibility for themselves and for each other. When the child enters preschool at three years of age, the practical life area provides the link between home and school.

In the classroom, the young child is able to perform the same activities he has seen adults do, such us polishing, scrubbing, washing, pouring, and sweeping. The motions help the children gain gross motor control and hand-eye coordination, which will enable him to perform other precise tasks successively. Practical life fosters concentration and independence.

Preschool age children have natural mathematical minds; Montessori materials allow these sensorial explorers to begin their mathematical journey from the concrete to the abstract through manipulation, experimentation, and invention. For example, the child does not merely learn to count; he understands the concept of "how many" because he holds the amount in his hands. Likewise he is able to perform the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using concrete materials.

Language work can extend to exploration in science and social studies, led by the child's curiosity. Arts and music are not treated as separate subjects, but are integrated into the prepared environment as part of the day-to-day activities.


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