Lead by Example.
Maria Montessori believed in a family-style mixed-age classroom, and felt it was extremely important for children to have leadership experience at key points during their education. She felt this experience would result in higher self-esteem and a sense of responsibility to assist and contribute to society.
We share this belief and feel the Kindergarten year is an extremely important part of every child’s development, and is a unique window of opportunity for discovery of the leadership role within the safety and comfort of a familiar Primary classroom. Children emerge from this year confident and secure emotionally as well as socially, preparing them for the challenges they will face in the Elementary years, and equipping them to graduate to another school environment
Our Kindergarten Program serves the third-year students within our Primary classrooms, using familiar concrete materials and strategies to further the child’s understanding of increasingly complex and abstract ideas. While focusing on the individual, children are encouraged to develop a sense of community and respect for others through group experiences, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. Fundamental social and abstract reasoning skills are modeled and instructed. The Kindergarten Program encourages students to independently explore their own academic interests, meanwhile integrating essential core subjects and skills to meet and exceed state standards.
Continuity of Care
Ideally, children stay in the same classroom environment for as long as possible (the optimal Primary cycle is three successive years). This allows teachers, parents, and children to develop very intimate relationships. Teachers can better recognize a child’s feelings, needs, and interests, including when the child is in a period of intense intellectual growth (requiring extra attention and increased lessons), and when that same child’s attention is clearly focused on social relations or emotional growth. In early childhood, children benefit immensely from guidance on how to get along with others. Each year at the Primary level is different as children move from being the youngest to the oldest students. They feel at home in the class and develop a repertoire of work as they enjoy time to practice and to repeat, perfecting skills and increasing knowledge, and finally to teach and lead, as they become the models for younger students in the classroom.
The teacher’s role in the classroom is to observe children individually and note their interests, then to guide and stimulate that interest through the introduction of materials and lessons. At the same time, the teachers make certain that children are introduced to and aware of all parts of the curriculum. Teachers keep detailed records of individual and group lessons given to children. This process helps teachers avoid overlooking a quiet child and over-teaching a demanding child. Progress in social and emotional development is also noted. Developmental Profiles are prepared twice yearly to provide feedback to parents, and parent-teacher-student conferences are conducted at least twice per year. Although the classroom environment may seem very academically-oriented, our primary goals are to help children develop confidence in themselves, an independence of thought and action that encourages them to make decisions, and the understanding that they are responsible for their actions as well as for their own learning. During their time in our program we hope that children’s curiosity about the world around them increases and that they develop a sense of obligation to help others.