Most of our new families have not experienced a Montessori school before, so this is the third out of a four-part blog series to show you with pictures and short descriptors what each level is like at Sunrise Montessori. If you missed our first two blog posts on A day in the life of a Nido classroom at Sunrise Montessori! or A day in the life of a Bambini classroom at Sunrise Montessori!, you can find those and other posts on our website under Resources/Ms. Shannon’s Blog. This week’s focus is Pre-Primary, which comprises children between the ages of 18 – 36 months. Pre-Primary children discover the world around them primarily through direct sensory experience.
In addition to social and academic learning, children are taught to work together to care for the classroom. They sweep the floor, help set the table for snack and lunch time, and clean up after themselves. Our Pre-Primary program is designed to meet the needs of the child. The entire environment is carefully created to facilitate their learning process. Dr. Maria Montessori felt a carefully prepared environment is a critical part of a young child’s education.
The Pre-Primary-aged child has a very strong sense of order, a great desire for self-direction, and a preference for parallel play. Our Pre-Primary classroom is carefully prepared with this in mind, allowing the children to explore and learn in a secure and loving environment. The classroom is filled with activities that stimulate and nourish the toddler’s need to smell, touch, hear, see and taste. The aim is to guide very young children as they begin their life-long journey of learning, educating the whole child.
The Montessori Pre-Primary classroom includes activities in the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, and Geography. We also incorporate Grace and Courtesy into our curriculum, a Montessori staple for teaching our children how to be kind to others and take care of their environment.
The two areas most explored in this age group are Practical Life and Sensorial. A common refrain we hear from our children is “I did it myself!” Independence is fostered with the mastering of each activity and skills build upon themselves each day. They also engage in food prep, which you can see below (our parents donate different fruit and vegetables each week just for exploring how to prepare each one and seeing what they taste like!).
Physical exercise and socialization are also paramount to the education of the whole child, so our Pre-Primary children have multiple times to run outside each day.
From peeling their own fruit for snack, setting the table with their own mat and plate, unpacking and then packing their own lunch, learning how to make friends, exploring how to use different art mediums like glue sticks and watercolor, singing songs…even eventually learning how to use the toilet by themselves!…Pre-Primary students are constantly interacting with our world and deciding their next steps!
Pre-Primary is the beginning of many things at Sunrise! That’s when we begin:
- Bi-annual Parent-Teacher Conferences (good communication between parents and teachers is the cornerstone to our students’ successful preschool experience and beyond)
- The use of Montessori Compass (notes on each child’s individual progress as well as explanations of Montessori materials and activities are available online through our Montessori Compass account)
- Classroom parties in November for the holidays and February for making Valentines
- Toilet training conference (when the parent or teacher feels that the child is ready to begin wearing underwear and actively work on toilet training, we have a meeting to discuss strategies that will work best for the child and family)
- Group lessons during Circle Time to explain how to use the materials on the shelves (the children also watch each other use the materials)
- Working with extensive Montessori materials
- Teachers who are Montessori credentialed (Ms. Lara, our Meadowlarks Teacher seen here in these pictures, is also our Montessori Trainer of Curriculum and runs our in-house Montessori credential program)
- Small things like how to care for a plant and put on a jacket
- Big things like manners and how to make friends!
We hope you enjoyed this little tour of our Pre-Primary program! Next week’s post…Primary!