Preschool and kindergarten fall within what Dr. Montessori called the “First Plane of Development” (0-6 years old).
Your child’s sensory experience of the immediate environment is the way s/he has learned since birth. By experiencing materials of many kinds and complexities in carefully designed classrooms, children have the opportunity to develop their mental abilities fully, to satisfy their natural inquisitiveness, and to set the stage for a life of learning. Trained and experienced teachers help guide this development, respecting each individual’s learning style and creativity.
Planes of Development
For the first day, a parent or guardian accompanies the new child to their classroom. While the child gets used to the classroom routines and activities, the parent sits in a chair on the perimeter of the classroom–near enough so that their presence is felt, but far enough for the child to experience independence.
The phase-in period can last for one, two or more days, depending on the needs of the child. For mid-year enrollees, a modified phase-in will be planned.
In Children’s House, the multi-year cycle culminates with the Kindergarten year. It is exciting to see the Kindergarten children reading a book with their teacher, laying out a long number chain in the hallway, coloring in a map of Africa, writing a story.
This is a pivotal time in a Montessori classroom. It is a year where all that a child has learned and done comes together and solidifies, the year when the child truly becomes a leader. The older child takes the materials to a much deeper level, taking time to work on long projects, exploring more advanced materials and beginning to understand their world as it is broadening outside the family and the classroom.
All the Kindergartners come together daily for Kindergarten Meeting. During this time, they engage in a variety of Kindergarten-specific activities: listening to and analyzing chapter books as a group, stretching their bodies in yoga, and exploring Spanish, music and art.
“Written language can be acquired more easily by children of four years than by those of six. While children of six usually need at least two years to learn how to write children of four years learn this second language within a few months.”
–Dr. Maria Montessori