Program Description, Pre-school
The preschool program caters to pre-school children aged 3-6 year old. Children at this age learn primarily through the senses aided by the Absorbent Mind. Sensitive Periods for learning, or periods of acute sensitivity to specific areas of development such as language, coordinated movement, classification and order, are addressed.
The program strongly emphasizes functional independence, development of the will and provides a strong foundation for concept and skill development. The mixed-age group provides a myriad of opportunities for social development.
The younger children come in for a three-hour cycle and the older ones participate in Extended Day class, going to a second three-hour cycle.
There are five broad curricular areas:
1. Practical Life
This area emphasizes independence in practical living skills. It allows the children to function independently in caring for their own needs and the needs of the class environment. Activities incorporate motivations for orderly and logical thinking as well as precision and exactness of movements – both fine motor and gross motor. Practical Life activities also increase concentration skills and help children develop problem-solving strategies.
2. Sensorial Activities
These are a set of activities that aims to refine the child's senses. Sensory impressions are concretized through the Montessori materials. These materialized abstractions allow for rich manipulative and direct experiences of the different sense impressions that surround the young child. The Sensorial materials also help children organize and classify all sense impressions absorbed since birth. All five senses are engaged as the child learns to make fine distinctions in quality and gradation. Furthermore, the materials extend the child's learning and include language for all the sensory experiences.
While there are specific materials in the classroom for the development of skills in language, the whole classroom life is the main language experience of the child. Every activity, object, and experience in the classroom may be used in language lessons so that language learning is interwoven in the everyday life of the child. Auditory, spoken, written, and read language are discovered by the child and explored through a variety of lessons. Language symbols are presented using a sight/sound/touch approach. Writing and reading skills are developed enabling the children to creatively express ideas in writing and do simple research.
Mathematics integrates the child's sensorial exploration. Concrete materials allow the child to experience and internalize concepts of quantity, number symbolization, the decimal system, and place value. The child gradually moves from the concrete towards the abstract, exploring the processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
5. Cultural studies
Cultural studies provide key lessons which aim to broaden the child's understanding of the world and its people. Lessons in Geography, History and Science lead to knowledge of land and water formation, ecosystems, basic human needs and diverse world cultures. Art, music and drama are integrated as part of daily activity. Physical development is enhanced through movement and coordination activities both indoors as well as outdoors.
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