Children's House Program (3-6 years)
In the Children’s House Program, children learn at their own pace and according to their own choice of activities. The Montessori teacher shows each child how to use the materials in the classroom. Once the child has been shown a “work”, it becomes part of their repertoire of activities from which they can choose each day. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones.
The basic goals of education in Children’s House are to help increase the child’s level of independence, to increase their ability to focus and concentrate on a selected task, to help the child in the process of learning to read and write and also to understand the concepts of numeration.
The full benefit of a Montessori education is predicated upon beginning Children’s House at the age of 3. Montessori schools generally work in a 3 year cycle beginning in Children’s House. Curriculum is presented by ability and not by age. With each year, students build a foundation upon which future learning is structured. It is an important part of Montessori education to help each child participate in that 3 year cycle.
The Montessori environment and materials are designed specifically to meet the physiological, emotional, social, and cognitive needs of the child. Children use the materials and experiences in their environment to learn and develop according to their natural abilities and tendencies. In early childhood, Montessori students learn through sensory-motor activities, working with materials that develop their cognitive powers through direct experience: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and movement.
Dr. Montessori observed that children experience well defined sensitive periods, or windows of opportunity, as they grow. As their students develop, Montessori teachers match appropriate lessons and materials to these sensitive periods when learning is most naturally absorbed and internalized.
The teacher, child, and environment create a learning triangle. The classroom is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. The child, through individual choice, makes use of what the environment offers to develop himself, interacting with the teacher when support and/or guidance is needed.
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