Kindergarten and 1st Grade Program
If you are a parent of an elementary-aged child considering enrolling your child in our Montessori school, we wish to welcome you to a very unique educational setting. The richly prepared environment of the Montessori classroom and the well-trained teachers bring a very exciting and stimulating experience to each young scholar.
Kindergarten and First Grade lay the foundation for much of what will be mastered in elementary school. In Montessori education, we believe that learning to read, write, and work with numerical concepts is best accomplished in small groups. Our excellent student to teacher ratio of 13:1 and during many activities of 8:1 or less, allows each child to have an individual educational program, to work at his own pace, and to have plenty of teacher time. We believe that this works for young children as they master their fundamental skills. Strong reading skills, good handwriting, and facility with mathematics are absolutely necessary for a child’s future success throughout their educational life.
The hands-on materials and freedom of movement within the classroom make this educational method excellent for children while they are building concentration skills. Fundamental to the Montessori system is the belief that children learn all the time, that they absorb concepts and information constantly. We believe that it is an integral process of their development to be able to learn a huge quantity of knowledge in a relatively short period of time. The Montessori classroom gives each student the opportunity to meet their potential.
At Montessori on the Lake, the students receive individual on-on-one lessons as they work with materials. Based on ability and motivation, a student can complete one reading lesson during the work period, or might complete five. Each child travels through all the basic concepts of the elementary curriculum in sequence. Students are neither pressured to keep up with other children, nor are they bored with having to wait for others to catch up. If a child is absent from school one day, he picks up where he left off.
The consistency and continuity of the learning sequence make it impossible for a student to finish with or tire of the wide variety of materials available to him. For example, the Golden Bead materials (which may have been introduced to the Montessori child at age 3 or 4 to learn the workings of the decimal system) are used in kindergarten to understand concretely the composition of 4-digit numbers and place value as the child begins mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication and eventually square roots and long division.
Learning to read at one’s own pace is, perhaps, the most important advantage for the five year old in the Montessori kindergarten. The language sequence (level work) starts with concrete objects and moves into abstract symbols as the child is ready to absorb each lesson. The students feel good about their progress and avoid frustration with feeling like the work is too difficult.
Another important aspect of our kindergarten is the integrated cultural subjects that are introduced throughout the year. By blending physical and cultural geography, history, zoology, botany, science, art and music throughout the children’s week, we are able to focus on many aspects of a chosen area of study. Let’s use an example such as “Asia”. The students might learn the names of Asian countries, mountain ranges and rivers, making maps together and having a guest speaker in native costume from one country. They could place the indigenous animals on a biome map, sample foods of different parts of Asia in cooking class, make a toy which children play with in China in the woodshop, and learn a kabuki dance in dance class. From the art shelf, the students could practice making Kanji letters with a brush, or may make an example of Asian pottery during art class. Such integrated study, allows the development of the student’s interests. This example is an important aspect of how we teach in Montessori Education, integrated learning, resulting in long-term retention and helping each student enjoy learning and become a better informed member of the world community.