3, 4 and 5 Year Olds
Children’s House focuses on children between the ages of 3 and 6. Children in this age range learn through real-life activities that support independence and self-efficacy; manipulation of objects to provide concrete sensorial experience; and open-ended exploration leading to the refinement of their movements, sensory perceptions, language and the development of their intellect. Members of this community thrive through opportunities to follow their own interest, choose their own activities, develop a capacity for concentration, and engage at their own pace their emerging powers of reason, imagination, and sociability. A guide’s purpose is to help these children become well-adapted individuals, ready to take a positive, pro-social place in their world.
Materials and activities are designed to support self-directed discovery and learning. See below for areas of:
This is the link between the child’s home environment and the classroom. We focus on four main areas: Control of Movement, Care of Person, Care of Environment, and Grace and Courtesy. A variety of materials and activities support the development of fine motor skills as well as other learning skills. Precise movements often challenge children to concentrate, work uninterrupted at their own pace, and complete a cycle of work that typically results in the feelings of satisfaction and confidence.
Children develop a sense of order through sorting, arranging and classifying their many experiences. Sensorial materials give the child experience initially in perceiving distinctions between things that are similar and different. Children use sets of objects that isolate a fundamental quality perceived through the senses such as color, form, dimension, texture, temperature, volume, pitch, weight and taste. Precise language such as loud/soft, long/short, rough/smooth, circle, square, cube and so on is then attached to these sensorial experiences.
The child’s mind has already been awakened to mathematical ideas through the sensorial experiences. Children are introduced to the functions and operations of numbers. Through concrete material the child learns to add, subtract, multiply and divide. He/she gradually comes to understand many abstract mathematical concepts with ease and joy. Geometry, algebra and arithmetic are connected in the Montessori method as they are in life.
Children are immersed in the dynamics of their own language development. The Montessori approach provides a carefully thought-out program to facilitate this process. Muscular movement and fine motor skills are developed along with the ability of the child to distinguish the sounds that make up language. With spoken language in the background, the Guide begins to present the alphabet symbols to the child. Not only can children hear and see sounds, but they can feel them by tracing the sandpaper letters. When a number of letters have been learned the movable alphabet is introduced. These cardboard or wooden letters enable the child to reproduce his/her own words, then phrases, sentences and finally stories. Because children know what they have written, they soon discover they can read back their stories. Reading books both to themselves and others soon follows.
The Children’s House is bustling with 3, 4 and 5-year olds eager to plunge into social and academic activities. The environment is designed to satisfy the needs and tendencies of each child in this phase of development. The Montessori curriculum is rich with materials and areas of study that meets “sensitive periods”* when learning a particular subject is most easily accomplished. Whether a child is exploring math, language, “sensorial”*, geography, music, art or playing on the playground, teachers or “guides”, who are trained to be astute observers, gently guide the child toward the most appropriate academic lessons, a concern for community and independence. TMS offers half-day and full-day programs for children in their first two years. Their day begins at 8:30AM and ends at noon, or a full-day program is available from 8:30AM to 3:00PM. Children’s House Kindergarten classrooms are full-day programs; starting at 8:30AM and ending at 3:00PM.
(Some content derived from Association Montessori Internationale.)