The Children’s House – Ages 2 1/2 – 6
Children at this level are focused on self-development. Pre-school aged children are trying to develop organized and efficient actions for dealing with their immediate environment. They have a need to explore, discover, and manipulate their environment. It is through the work of their hands that these children will develop independence, confidence, and a love of learning–all of which are crucial to the formation of their intellect. The environment in the Children’s House is specifically designed with the manipulative needs of the child in mind. The classroom environment is divided into specific curriculum areas, including the following:
This area focuses directly on practical skill development. Meaningful, hands-on activities–such as sweeping, cutting, gardening, and food preparation–help the child develop large and small motor skills, concentration, and a sense of order. These activities are divided into areas including Care of Self, Care of the Environment, Movement, and Development of Social Relations, including grace and courtesy activities.
This area helps the child classify the images/material in his or her environment. The sensorial materials of the Montessori classroom introduce the children to abstract concepts through hands-on tasks. They explore relationships of size, dimension, color, form, sound, touch, taste, and smell through concrete materials such as graduated blocks, precisely matured wood rods, pressure-sensitive containers, and colored tablets designed to foster an understanding of comparative relationships.
The student at the Children’s House is introduced to mathematics concepts by using concrete, hands-on materials. The child starts out by sorting and classifying. Later, he or she moves to numbers, operations, and other mathematics principles. All of these activities help to provide significant underpinnings for later work in math.
Reading and vocabulary development are the two main sections of the Montessori language curriculum. Written expression, handwriting, and grammar are also areas of focus at this level. Children are introduced to letters made of sandpaper and begin to form a tactile and phonetic identification with each. When they are able to relate the sound of letters to their written form, they begin to create their own words. The love of reading and vocabulary enrichment is encouraged.
History, geography, science, music, and foreign languages are explored through concrete activities. Basic science and geography concepts are introduced, as well as timelines, and the common needs of humans.