A lifelong love of learning begins at birth.
Dr. Montessori believed that all learning begins in the senses, and as a result, she developed materials that were colorful and enticing, meant to be touched and manipulated. Most were designed so that children could work with and master them on their own.
Two typical areas in our classrooms are the Sensorial and Practical Life areas. The Sensorial area contains beautiful materials that – in order to be understood and appreciated – must be explored using the five senses. You can find Sound Boxes here. There are matched pairs of wooden cylinders filled with different substances and therefore make different sounds when shaken. Children match these cylinders by shaking them until they find a pair that make the same sound. This is the beginning of discriminating sounds, which we all need to do in order to spell correctly.
In the Practical Life area are activities that help children master a variety of important skills. It is in this area, for example, that they learn how to use a screwdriver, button a sweater and pour a cup of juice. This area of the classroom is immediately appealing to all children, as the materials look like items from home, except that here, the children CAN touch them! They have fun using adult-like materials, such a pitchers and tongs, and this fine motor work is preparing them to manipulate pencils and markers. As our students follow their own interests, they become motivated to complete work and are gratified in the experience of challenging themselves with a task and staying with it until it is finished.
An array of inviting art materials are also available to our children, as are materials for math, language, science, and geography.
Classes also take field trips, attend performances and explore the neighborhood – touring the firehouse, uncovering shapes embedded in the design of the buildings, measuring trees or observing the seasons change in Riverside Park. We also have in-house trips that include musical presentations, interactions with animals, and storybook-based performances.
All programs have weekly music and movement classes. Everyday throughout the year, we either use our spacious terrace playground or set up an indoor obstacle course in a large multi-purpose room in our building.
Our mixed-age classrooms provide a special richness of interaction for children ages 3 years to 5 years.
This mixture of ages allows children to have a variety of classmates who can match them emotionally and developmentally while stimulating them educationally.
Our teachers, chosen for their fine educational backgrounds and experience, create an organized and stimulating environment as they vary materials to suit their students’ needs and interests.
Within this structure, children choose their own activities. Closely attuned to the needs and abilities of each child, teachers can then offer appropriate materials, make suggestions when necessary, or step back to encourage independence.