Dr. Montessori believed that human beings learn from participating in activities. They must do the work for themselves and only then, is learning actually taking place with interest and understanding. She felt that children learn best in a prepared classroom environment, which serves to make the child independent of the adult. The teacher, or Directress as they are known in a Montessori classroom, allows a child to work at their own pace and this allows a child to engage in meaningful activities. Since children are free to work with the materials on their own, they have the opportunity to explore and absorb what they learn.
A Montessori environment is prepared for children age three to six years, together in one class, with materials appropriate for each level. The classroom invites exactness, precision and an aesthetically pleasing environment in which the children learn respect for one another and the materials around them. The materials are purposeful, clean, neat and complete. They must be accessible to the child with generally only one of each exercise. This encourages a child to be patient or the choice to take another activity, thus learning respect for others. The classroom is prepared to help children accomplish their goals and work independently by gaining confidence and practice in a particular skill. Gradually the children reveal qualities for which they are not usually given credit for such as:
- Concentration skills and longer attention spans
- Precision of movement
- A sense of order
- Maximum effort, even by the youngest children
- Self-discipline and a respect for others and the environment
- Peacefulness and kindness towards others
- An and obvious joy in “work”
The Preliminary Exercises develop movement and co-ordination. They form the foundation for other exercises and basic movement within the class. They teach children self-control over their bodies and enhance their awareness of the world around them. Through active Movement in the class, the children learn about listening and concentration. Care for The Environment both indoors and out, helps to create a full self-expression of love for the environment. Care of The Person through dignity and independence, not just of oneself but of others as well. Grace and Courtesy are much deeper than manners; it is living together with respect. Children thrive on knowing what to do and when to do it, this gives them respect for others and the community.
The Practical Life materials assist the child’s development in:
- Lengthening their attention span
- Fine and gross motor movemenCo-ordination – Lengthening their attention span
- Co-ordination – through will and action (a purposeful activity)
- Orderly work habits – to create oneself with order, purpose and values
- Logical thought – to find purpose in all activities (especially sequential exercises later on)
- Responsibility – a direct response of freedom and discipline
- Socialization – the child learns to care for self and others (respect and appreciation
The sensorial materials in the classroom are a representation of a selection of materials using various colors, shapes, textures and sizes. First, they help the child refine their senses, therefore widening human perception. Secondly, they are the classification of sensorial experiences and impressions and thirdly, they introduce the material world to the child in order that they adapt themselves and learn using their own knowledge freely.
Through the sequence of sensorial materials, the child is exposed to the various elements in the environment. Discrimination of Size allows the child to find order in a complex number of similar objects. This gives the child the ability to group long to short, large to small, thick to thin etc. Discrimination of Color comes through working with the various color boxes and learning that life has an infinite amount of colors to offer. By mixing and matching colors children learn that colors make our environment an enriching experience. Discrimination of Shape invites the child to explore the world around them. By introducing various geometric shapes, the child can look beyond the obvious and continue to explore how the world is made up. They also learn that you can combine shapes to build a particular item. Tactile Sense (sense of touch) allows the child to learn to discriminate between soft, coarse, thin, thick etc. This again opens up the possibility for the child to explore other various textures and surfaces used within the environment. Baric Sense (sense of weight) shows the child that various objects (even though they may look similar in size) may have different weights, teaching the child to analyze both visually and by touching or lifting them. A Sense of Taste, Smell and Hearing exercises allow the child to “experience” a particular area in life that interests them. The child then realizes that all things have a very distinct taste, smell or sound.
Language is an instrument of collective thought. We use words to represent our experiences and express our thoughts, allowing for effective communication. The child absorbs language and it becomes part of them at a very early stage. Language is a spontaneous creation from the environment. It does not matter how complicated or simple a language is, the child will unconsciously absorb it.
Preliminary Language exercises teach the child to listen carefully to not just the words but the sounds that make them up. The child learns to listen to the “whole” word. Writing exercises through the sandpaper letters allow the child to visually see the letters and internalize them through touch. The moveable alphabet gives the child the opportunity to see that sounds have symbols; symbols combined make words, which is a building block for reading. The metal insets and their frames help prepare the hand for writing in a controlled area. Reading exercises allow the child to connect words with the appropriate objects. Children are encouraged to expand their reading skills and are introduced to phonetic cards, phonogram booklets and puzzle words (or “sight” words). This helps the child expand upon his reading skills and become a “total” reader. Function of Words show the child that each word, within a sentence, has a specific meaning and if changed, can alter the sentence drastically. Children learn that the use of the noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. are all needed in order for the sentence to be complete. Reading Analysis and Comprehension allows the child to read, understand and retain the story, poem etc, thus enriching their vocabulary and adding to their knowledge and language skills.
The child is prepared for mathematics with the aid of practical life, sensorial and language materials. The child is continually learning about the logical sequence of events, co-ordination, concentration and the precision with which they are carried out. Through exploration the child can work freely with the materials and learn from the experience. Numbers to Ten give the child the opportunity to see the symbols used from 0 – 10 and learn to associate the quantity that corresponds with them. Next the child is introduced to sequencing the numbers. The Decimal System helps the child to realize the different categories and the quantities that match with them from one to nine thousand and beyond. Teens and Tens Boards introduce new language to the child and fills in the “gaps” between ten and twenty – ten to one hundred. The child learns that by adding a unit or a zero the number value changes. Exploration and Memorization of Tables gives the child, through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the freedom and confidence to work with any and all mathematical problems. With the previous materials used, the child has learned to categorize and visualize numbers and can begin working abstractly in the math area. Fractions enable the child to understand that a whole is divided or broken up into equal parts; therefore a fraction means a part of the whole. This shows the child that in mathematics a numbers is given to each size of a part of anything, it does not matter how large or small the quantity is, it is represented by a mathematical term.
The children learn about the world around them through various Montessori materials. The use of puzzle maps, atlas’ and globes to name a few, allows the child to learn, depending upon their age, many different aspects of a continent or the name of a particular country, it’s flag, the capital city, population, terrain native to a particular country, import/export, animals (land, air and ocean) etc. They are introduced to land and water formations, space, weather, explorers and many other facts about the world we live in, both past and present and possibly what the future may hold in the way of technology, science and human potential.
This program follows the concept of “Earth Kinder”, a Montessori philosophy that emphasizes the natural processes and harmonious living on our planet. Children are introduced to plants, water, the sun and learn about the delicate balance of our ecosystem and how it affects their everyday life.
Zoology is studied in-depth and introduces the child to animals and their needs, characteristics and habits. Children are always fascinated with animals whether they are learning about animals that live in the wild, pets, marine life or dinosaurs.
We believe that through the use of technology, young children develop their resources comprehensively to become educated and productive in an ever changing and complex world.
Spanish is offered two times per week to the children. Beginners start with common verbal skills, learning items such as colors, numbers, songs, vegetables, animal names etc. As a child’s skills develop they learn specific pronunciation, writing skills, spelling, verbs, nouns, poems and stories.
This is a time for children to develop their listening skills, self-confidence (while sharing at show and tell) and learning about current events. This is a most enjoyable time for children as they share ideas and express their thoughts through stories, poems, songs and finger plays. Weekly themes are also discussed at circle time giving children an opportunity to learn more in depth about a particular topic of interest.
Self-expression through art is an important part of the weekly program. The children are encouraged to develop their creativity and self-esteem through arts and crafts.
Music is an important form of self-expression allowing the child an ongoing exploration of themselves. Through different types of music, a child develops listening skills and an appreciation for different styles of composing. We introduce the children to singing, humming, movement, rhythms, beats and playing various instruments.
Through weekly the children are encouraged to increase their physical limits, which in turn, allow them to develop confidence in their ability.
A variety of extra curricular activities are offered after school by experienced instructors in the school.
- Eric Mobil Gym
- Amazing Athletes
- Kinder Dance
Field trips offer a “hands on” experience to the children and we often chose our field trips to compliment the curriculum. Casa children usually go on up to three field trips per school year (one per term) and we have visited many different places such as: Carlsbad flower and strawberry field, Birch aquarium, Science Muslim, Pumpkin Patch and so on. Parent volunteers are always welcome.
Central Montessori School’s Toddler Program is comprehensive, challenging and diverse. This is a time when the child absorbs effortlessly from his/her surroundings, just by living. This is the period of the ‘absorbent mind’. They need to be able to explore and discover. These children are curious about everything and need to touch and manipulate objects in order to learn. They are attracted to everything that stimulates their senses, which they are learning about through their surroundings. The program offers professional childcare and an early childhood education program, with a general introduction to the Montessori Philosophy and Methodology for children from 18 months to 2 ½ years of age. Our teachers are committed to providing quality care. The program’s mandate is to provide a culturally appropriate, racially sensitive and non-discriminatory environment for children and their parents.
If you have any questions about the program we would be more than happy to answer them for you. We are sure you will be pleased with the program, and look forward to working with your child as they grow, explore and learn.
PHILOSOPHY AND AIMS
We strive to provide a nurturing environment where children develop physically, mentally, emotionally and intellectually.
The objective of the program is to:
- Provide a happy, relaxed and stimulating environment where children develop a willingness to share and the ability to respect the rights of others.
- Provide a program that will encourage each child to develop their individuality.
- Instil an understanding and acceptance of routine and limits.
- To help children develop self-confidence, self-respect, self-discipline and a feeling of security.
- Model caring and respect for others regardless of race, colour, sex, religion, nationality or social origin.
Student Teacher Ratio
At Central Montessori School we are strongly committed to maintaining an optimal teacher to student ratio. For the Toddler Class it is a ratio of 1:5, with the maximum number of students in each class of 15.
The practical life area is the building block for future development in all areas of the Montessori environment. For the toddler children the practical life materials offer an opportunity to begin developing their fine and gross motor skills, focusing abilities, attention span and concentration levels, through working with materials such as pouring from jug to jug, spooning, sponging and locks and keys.
The sensorial materials allow a child to begin to “define their world”. Children are introduced to shapes, sizes, colors, basic geometric shapes and sounds allowing them to begin “classifying” the world around them.
Language and Math
Toddler children are introduced to the preliminary language exercises allowing them to learn the sounds that make up words. Sounds are introduced phonetically and they play “sound games” allowing them to “listen carefully” to the sounds that make up the words we use. In the toddler math area simple concepts of numbers are introduced through songs, counting by rote and the daily calendar.
Culture and Science
In the cultural area the children are introduced to basic concepts about animals, botany and geography, through working with such materials as puzzles, leaf pressings and talking about animals from around the world. In the science area an introduction of basic concepts with such “experiments” as cutting an orange to find out where juice comes from or freezing water into ice-cubes.
These types of simple concepts set the stage for further interest and more advanced exploration in the Casa and Elementary age groups.
Cooking with Children
Cooking provides children an opportunity to show how food is prepared, the equipment and the process involved in cooking. It exposes them to new foods and demonstrates safety and cleanliness around food preparation. It is a fun activity and allows children to role-play, without stereotypes. It teaches children names of food, physical characteristics, flavor and the origin of certain foods.
Free play takes place indoors and outdoors. This provides children with an opportunity to share and develop relationships and language. During free play there is an opportunity for children to explore, design, create and carry out projects.
Music and Movement
Music and movement encourages self-expression, creativity and fun for children. It develops an awareness and appreciation of sounds, tones, and rhythm.
Circle Time and Story Telling
These activities enhance the child’s listening skills by actively listening to stories, songs and poems and encourage children to broaden their imagination. Furthermore, it develops memory skills, lengthens attention span, social skills, cognitive development and sensory experiences. This in turn leads children to self-expression, gross motor development, role-playing, body awareness and language development.
The book area is a quiet area for children to relax, enjoy and explore different books. This intimate area provides an early experience with books and stimulates the child’s desire to learn to read. Activities around books can be done in large or small groups. This enhances development of the child’s attention span, while learning simple concepts and exercising their imagination.
Creative experiences provide children with the opportunity to express them manipulate and create objects with a variety of materials. Emphasis is placed on “PROCESS NOT PRODUCT”. Creative learning allows children to work alone or in groups for social interaction and helps children to develop language, sharing, and co-operational skills. Creative learning assists in many areas of your child’s development like, pre–writing experience and small muscle co–ordination, eye–hand coordination, fine motor skills sensorial experience.
Manipulative play helps to develop small muscle control, self-expression and role-playing. It also gives children an opportunity for social interaction, which encourages language development. These activities are done individually and in a group setting and help to develop dramatic role playing, social interaction, turn–taking, self-expression and language development. It incorporates conceptual skills and contributes to small muscle dexterity and cognitive exercises.
Dramatic Play Centre
This area includes dress-up centers, house keeping, and block play. It provides an opportunity for children to learn about their feelings and to experiment with ways of expressing themselves. It provides an opportunity for children to experiment with social relations. It also helps develop language through self-expression and role-playing.
Parents must supply disposable diapers, creams, powders and wipes etc. for use at the school for children who are not yet toilet trained. Please check you child’s diaper supplies daily.
Toilet Training and Washroom Routine
When children begin the toilet training process, please dress them in clothing which they can manage by themselves. Practice with your child at home, so that they will feel confident in their dressing skills. Items like belts, suspenders and tight fitting clothing make it difficult for your child to master the toilet training process.
The washroom process requires patience and time. It is common for the child to regress temporarily during this routine. We feel that it is important for the washroom routine to be a positive time for the child and when “accidents” occur, gentle reminders are given with an encouraging attitude for the “next time”.
Snack and Lunchtime
Snacks are provided by the school and are well balanced and nutritious. All meals are served in a happy relaxed atmosphere where staff join the children at the table and encourage the children to eat so they look forward to meal and snack time.
Sleep time allows the teaching staff to comfort each child individually. All children are expected to take a nap or have quiet time lying down after lunch. This is necessary for the child to regain their energy. Sleep time is from 12:15 PM -2:15 PM. The school provides the bed and sheet and we ask that each child bring a blanket (which is sent home weekly for washing).
Large Motor Activities
Large motor skill activities include daily indoor and outdoor play and promote good health and development for growth. It also aides in balance and co-ordination, promotes social skills such as sharing, taking turns and co-operation.
The Toddler Program has a Behavior Management Policy. It is our policy to set limits with boundaries for children to ensure a safe and secure environment. A positive approach is taken when disciplining children and we help children to: express themselves using words understand another person’s point of view and reflect on their own feelings. Children are only removed from a situation if the conflict is not resolved or if they require a “time out” to compose themselves. The child may rejoin the group whenever they feel that they can interact appropriately. Leaving the decision up to the child enhances their self-esteem and promotes self-control. You are welcome to discuss any questions concerning discipline with us.
Goals and Objectives
- Provide a secure and trusting environment in order for the child to develop emotionally, healthy and stimulated.
- Encourage independence and self-help skills.
- Foster “CREATIVITY”
- Facilitate social interaction in a group setting.
- Promote language development
- Enhance fine motor and large motor skills.
- Encourage children to use the toilet and praise them for their attempts.
- Provide children with many different materials to express and explore in their own way. Have age appropriate activities.
- Provide children with opportunities to help themselves and to encourage and praise their accomplishments.
- Provide experiences in which children are encouraged to explore and manipulate their environment freely.
- The children are encouraged to interact with peers in large and small groups. We try to establish and maintain an environment where positive relationships develop.
- Encourage children to verbalize to peers and others what they want. Adults help model and expand children’s language structure. Example: (“red ball” “This is a red ball”).
- Maintain consistent routines, activities, and discipline. Children’s individual attempts and efforts are praised. Children are encouraged to express their feelings.